Domaine Grand Veneur - Côtes du Rhône-Villages Les Champauvins 2021
"could mop the floor with many Châteauneufs...Worth buying by the case." - Wine Advocate
Many of you have heard the story on this baby... it's one of our top sellers of all time. Literally yards away from being classified Chateauneuf du Pape... and not just in proximity, but soil and quality. For the $, this is a steal. Always has been. Always will be. Location, location, location...
When I visited Rhone in 2004, I had the opportunity to stand in this vineyard. What an eye-opener - all that separates this vineyard from Chateauneuf du Pape is about 3 meters of gravel. And not just any part of Chateauneuf... from the Champauvins vineyad, the nearest building is... Chateau Beaucastel. Yep... three meters from Beaucastel... Bummer for them. Great for us! More importantly, it isn't just the proximity. The ground is filled with nothing but the large galets or stones, that make Chateauneuf du Pape what it is. These stones absorb heat during the day, and radiate it out at night, warming the vines and ripening the grapes. Additionally, the soil underneath all these rocks is notoriously poor. So as the vines work their way through the rocks and into the clay and gravel substrate, they are stressed to find nutrients and moisture. The result? Terroir... you can taste where the wine is from with its minerality and fine-grained tannins.
Bottom line? This baby tastes like a Chateauneuf, as rightly it should. More importantly, given the style and quality of this wine, comparable Chateauneufs run around $50 on average. This is an absolute steal.
For me, this is just about the perfect example of pure winemaking. A blend of primarily Grenache, with a bit of Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cinsault, it offers up killer fruit, loads of body, and a heady bouquet of ground pepper, raspberries, cherries, and exotic spices. Classic garrigue - lavender, sage, rosemary and thyme - wraps itself around the core of fruit and provides balance and elegance. Fine tannins and an underlying minerality round out the package, making this a complete knock-out! And as well as it is drinking now, it will only get better. In 2-3 years, this will knock your socks off. You'll be kicking yourself for not buying more...
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