Rhône Recce – Day 3
Wednesday 23rd October
Posted by Jason Yapp & Andrew Stanning
Having schlepped south to Châteauneuf-du-Pape we had a reviving beer and a review of our tasting notes and photographs at the Mule de Pape bar then we repaired to La Mère Germaine restaurant, an old favourite of culinary doyenne Elizabeth David, for a restorative supper and a bottle of C de P’s finest.
Our penultimate appointment was with the Michel family at their celebrated Le Vieux Donjon cellars. Here we tasted their white 2012 from the bottle and red 2012 from the vat – less fun than it sounds at 9am, but the wines are knockout. The white has subtle scents of pears, wild flowers and honey and a lovely, long, savoury, mid-weight palate. The red, which will be blended in December and bottled in the Spring, is all Provençal herbs and garrigue berries over a background of ripe tannins. It will be a big, bold complex bottling that should keep well for over a decade; bring on the côte de bœuf! After the obligatory photo shoot in front of the old château ruins we hit the road south for Domaine de Trévallon rueing not having added it as a ‘favourite’ on the sat nav on our last visit.
Having received precise directions from a providentially well-informed local we arrived at Domaine de Trévallon spot on time for our final appointment. The Dürrbach family proudly showed us round their spanking new cellars and winery, work on which was completed just in time to bring in the bountiful 2013 harvest; which was fortunately 2 weeks later than usual. There were no problems with low volumes here – due to the high altitude, sunny southern location and long ripening season.
Antoine Dürrbach then patiently talked us through barrel and vat samples of the 2012 vintage. The red has bags of rich, ripe, concentrated red and black fruit, a good clean acidity and a framework of rugged tannins that should see it age well. A classic Trévallon, in the mould of the 2005 perhaps, that will be an unashamed vin de garde maturing gracefully over 10-20 years. Its rarer, white sibling is made from a blend of 5% Greanche Blanc, 5% Chardonnay and 45% each of Marsanne and Roussanne vinified and raised in oak barrels half of which are new. The 2012 is a belter with power and finesse in equal measure – more Burgundian than Rhodanienne – with heaps of orchard fruit on the palate and a really persistent finish. It should drink well from release in December and keep well for at least a decade.
Satisfied that yet another long-serving Yapp supplier was on sterling form we bade our farewells and hot-footed it to the airport not forgetting to add Domaine de Trévallon to our list of favourites in more ways than one. As I type this on a plane crossing the Massif Central we are already looking forward to our next visit.
(We will shortly release more information on the Rhône 2012 vintage and our En Primeur offer on our Rhône 2012 page here).