Domaine Richeaume - Côtes de Provence Wine
Domaine Richeaume was founded on organic principles by cello-playing, German expatriate and erstwhile Yale law lecturer Henning Hoesch in 1972. He was joined by his son Sylvain in 1996; a fastidious wine-maker who produces characterful wines that are unlike anything else you will encounter in Provence. Mentored by the great Paul Draper at Ridge Vineyards in Santa Cruz, California, Sylvain shares his tutor's penchant for precise blend declarations (note his rear labels) and deft deployment of oak. Despite their distant locations, different selection of grapes and growing seasons, there is a distinct resonance of Ridge in Richeaume – the wines are sleek, glossy, poised and richly-fruited. The recently-retired 83 year-old master must be proud of his protégé.
Sylvain is not enamoured by the governing Institut National des Appellations d'Origine, finding their rules too restrictive, and therefore elects to bottle his wines as humble 'IGP Méditerrannée' rather than anything more fanciful. His superb white 'Tradition Blanc' is usually produced from a blend of Clairette, Rolle, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier in descending proportions. The finished wine has wild herb and flower aromas and a savoury stone fruit palate with a persistent finish. Its red stablemate is frequently blended from Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Grenache, Tempranillo and Carignan and represents an interesting fusion of 'New' and 'Old' World wine-making. With a bouquet of juicy blackcurrant and bilberry fruit and a core of dark cherries and berries supported by fondant tannins, it drinks well from release and can be cellared for up to 10 years. A senior 'Cuvée Columelle' (named after the Roman viticulturist Columella) is made from Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tempranillo and has much the same slick appeal but is denser, darker, more structured and age-worthy.