Friday Sips

Rhone Discoveries from Crous Saint-Martin
Chateaueuf, Gigondas, Vaqueyras & Cairanne
Today March 6 from 1:30 - 6:30
Drop by today for a Southern Rhone education from a new, rising producer who is producing superb, nicely formed and balanced wines from four of the area's superb villages..

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$24.99 BTL./$299.88 CASE

A recent yet not so recent discovery is the wines from Crous St-Martin. Recently I was checking out a wine from Bastide Saint-Dominique and these wines popped up. Crous St-Martin is a Domaine in Chateauneuf-du-Pape and the project itself is from Bastide St-Dominique winemaker Eric Bonnet in collaboration with Rhone guru and importer Harry Bosmans. After seeing them, I requested to taste and thus was mightily impressed, especially given their rapport of price to quality.

From purchased fruit just beneath the Dentelles de Montmirial, one sees Eric Bonnet’s studies in Burgundy shine through, not only on this wine but also on the entire range. 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah & 10% Mourvedre aged in mostly tank with a small potion brought up in used barriques. One of four in a row, 2017 is a superb vintage with extra levels of intensity evident in the complex array of aromas that waft from the glass. Highlighted by herbes-des-provence, white pepper, exotic Thai spice and wild plum, this hauntingly beautiful Gigondas is a stunning balancing act of compact and lacy pure fruits and deceptive, underlying power with a lingering silky finish. Drink it through 2028.

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$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

Promoted to its own Cru appellation in 2015, Cairanne (formerly known as Cotes-du-Rhone Villages Cairanne) is a rising star region where numerous values are appearing. Crous St-Martin’s version comes from three top hillside lieu dits and is a blend of equal parts Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Carignan aged in tank and used barriques for 15 months.

The saturated scents of roasted strawberry, lavender, rock dust and pronounced white pepper are gorgeous, classy and penetrating. Supple, spicy and full-textured in the mouth with very smooth structure that nicely fans out on the palate. This is an awesome selection for near term drinking over the next five years and will be perfect with roasted pork done Provencal-style.

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$21.99 BTL./$263.88 CASE

A direct neighbor of Gigondas, Vacqueyras is an intriguing appellation where the wines are vastly different. Deservedly promoted to Cru status in 1990, we have now been able to experience this area’s growth and discovery of its terroirs, which all have brought about beautiful wines that still represent excellent value.

Mostly from the classic plain of Vacqueyras, which is laden with clay, sand and stones. However, a portion of fruit comes from the slopes of the Dentelles de Montmirial that brings aromatic and textural suaveness. 70% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Cinsault and possessing complex flavors and aromas of blackberry compote, black pepper, flowers, and a touch of licorice. Layered and poised in the mouth with superb character that avoids the rustic and hard side of Vacqueyras. Ample persistence, spice and spine, there is no shortage of ‘ravishing Rhone appeal’ to make this a wine to enjoy now through 2027. Enjoy with a roasted leg of lamb for maximum pleasure!

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$34.99 BTL./$419.88 CASE

The Domaine itself is located in Courthezon in the northern sector of the appellation and this remarkable value Chateaueuf-du-Pape hails from north-facing sandy, compacted sedimentary rock and galet stone covered soils in the Courthezon lieu dit known as Les Bedines. Given the soils as well as Eric’s penchant towards silky, Burgundian techniques, this is a very stylish Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

Paying homage to the year 1879, which is the year St. Martin’s Cross (Crous in Provencal dialect) was installed by the monks to signal the road to Chateauneuf, this wine is a blend of 80% Grenache aged in tank with 10% each Syrah and Mourvedre aged in 2-5 year old barriques. Sultry, full-on tones of ground pepper, rosemary, deep plum and smoke win the day both on the nose and in the mouth. Typical of the wonderful 2017 vintage, it has superb generosity and ripeness as well as a stylish cushiony texture and a lingering, smooth finish that has excellent spice and licorice. This will age stupendously, but it is possible to enjoy it in its youth, especially with a grilled steak. Deceptive with its grip and stunningly long finish, it will easily develop and drink well for 15 years from vintage date.

This is one of the great Chateauneuf deals that we have seen in quite some time, so if you want a true to form Chateauneuf experience, e-mail us to order some or drop by to taste today, March 6.