Drink these wines to help you stay cozy through February in Maine. These wines can all stand up to heartier dishes, for example, our Comforting Lamb Tagine recipe.
Chateau la Canorgue Luberon 2015, $17.99
The Luberon Departement is where the Southern Rhone shades off into Provence, and Chateau la Canorgue’s Luberon Rouge definitely has a Provencal attitude about it, with spice, garrigue, and gamey notes suffusing the generous but crunchy dark berry fruits. The 60-acre estate is farmed biodynamically (though not certified), with no added fertilizers, fungicides, pesticides, or any other chemicals used in vineyard or cellar. The grapes ferment on indigenous yeasts in stainless steel and the wine is then raised in large, old foudres, allowing for purity of expression and development of depth. The blend is 60% Grenache and 30% Syrah, with the rest being a mix of old vine carignan and mourvedre.
Frederic & Daniel Brunier Le Pigeoulet Vin de Pays de Vaucluse 2017, $19.99
The brothers Brunier are most famous for their Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape, but they also own Domaine les Pallieres in Gigondas (with Kermit Lynch) and Domaine la Roquete, which produces this delicious Vin de Pays de Vaucluse. Fruit is hand-harvested from a vineyard just north of Avignon and a vineyard beneath Mount Ventoux, and after a temperature-controlled fermentation in cement tanks it is aged for 18 months, half in cement and half in foudres. Bursting with ripe blackberry, damson plum, and earthy garrigue, this wine balances freshness with robust and satisfying fruit. The blend is 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, and 5% each of Cinsault and Carignan
Chateau Pesquie Terrasses Ventoux Rouge 2017, $16.99
The Chateau Pesquie estate is located south of Mount Ventoux, and has been producing its own wine since 1990, when the family left the local co-operative. Alexandre and Frederic Chaudiere are now the third generation to run the estate, which is sustainably farmed and certified organic by Ecocert. Committed to the purity of expression of the complex clay and limestone terroir of the Ventoux appellation, which was only created in 1973, they crush and destem the fruit, which is cold-harvested in the early morning, and ferment in stainless steel and cement. This brilliant blend of Grenache (60%) and Syrah (40%) has long been appreciated by insiders as one of the best values of the Southern Rhone, expressing vivid and ripe raspberry and strawberry fruit accented with dried flowers, spices, and subtle notions of terracotta.
Chateau Beauchene Premier Terroir Cotes-du-Rhone 2016, $18.99
This tremendous Cotes-du-Rhone is a blend of 70% Grenache, 25% Syrah, and 5% Mourvedre from a vineyard situated between Orange and the current Chateauneuf-du-Pape appellation. The vineyard was previously within the boundaries of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, but was subsequently excluded when the appellation lines were re-drawn, a fact alluded to by the name “Premier Terroir.” The vines are between 30 and 100 years old, and the wine is partially aged in oak barrels for 6 to 12 months. From the bouquet to the finish, this wine shows striking power and concentration, with red fruits, black cherries, licorice, and black pepper combining on a sturdy frame of firm tannins and well-tempered toasty oak.
Chateau Pegau Cuvee Maclura Cotes-du-Rhone 2016, $18.99
Chateau Pegau is the second estate of the iconic Domaine Pegau of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. The blend, which is 60% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre, and 5% Cinsault, is hand-harvested from 35 to 60 year old vines in Cotes-du-Rhone and Cotes-du-Rhone Villages. Whole-cluster fermentation on wild yeasts, without temperature control, lasts about two weeks, and the wine is then aged in enamel tanks before bottling. This totally hands-off approach is similar to the way the Domaine makes their Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Reserve, and the wine is startlingly expressive, with lavender and wildflowers, dried boysenberries, cassis, blueberry, mace, and flashes of nutmeg.
Prices subject to change after this posting.