Saturday, November 29, 2008

Domaine Chaume-Arnaud Vinsobres, 2004

I firmly believe that Vinsobres is one of the most underrated areas of the Southern Rhone. And this domaine, owned and run by Valerie and Phillippe Chaume-Arnaud, is my favorite. Phillippe tends the vineyards; Valerie makes the wine. They are a young couple who believe in organic methods. And they also pay attention to the wine-making wisdom of their elders who have worked the land for years. Valerie's wine-making is traditional, eschewing both new oak and stainless steel in her effort to focus on the quality and purity of the fruit.

But even though I have confidence in the producers and the good 2004 vintage in the Southern Rhone, I still have a few doubts about this wine and its maturity. The color is a beautiful deep crimson, and the initial aromas are everything I could expect: freshly crushed blueberries, violets, herbs and black licorice. But there is also a bit of green toughness in the background--probably young Mourvedre. Flavors are the same--concentrated fruit and herb but with a tough, hard streak near the finish. It's still a good wine to stand up to grilled steak, and I really think this hard streak will mature into a beautiful Mourvedre spice-box component if I have the patience to give this wine some time.


  1. Excellent site. this is exactly what i've been looking for. i'll definitely tray out some of your suggestions.

  2. Hey, thank you. Glad you like the site. Please feel free to chip in with comments and suggestions.

  3. Apologies for such a late response but i only just stumbled across your very interesting blog when looking for chaume-arnauld references. I had just returned from tasting at this domaine, meeting philippe chaume for the first time and buying some bottles. By the way if you havent tried his white La Cadene you should, its one of the great bargains of the southern rhone. it seems we share a passion for the wife jude and i run a small wine holiday/tour business specialising in the southern rhone based at Malaucene in the foothills of Mt. Ventoux. Please do have a look at our web site, the blog might interest you from time to time. If you ever need a base for exploration in the area well you now know where we are! Keep up the excellent blogging, All the best , Philip

    December 2, 2008 8:25 AM

  4. Thank you very much for your interest, Philip. Feel free to comment at any time; you clearly have more extensive and direct knowledge about the area and the wines than I do, and I'd love to have your input.

    My passion for the wines goes back to the early 1980s and has been fueled in part by having excellent Rhone wines brought into my area of Michigan by Robert Mayberry, J.C. Mathes, Skip Delsner, Stephen Grant and others. The blog is mainly a matter of self indulgence, allowing me to ruminate and rave on about the wines I am enjoying each night with dinner...and perhaps help wine drinkers make some choices about the wines available to them. But an important side benefit is the chance to attract and communicate with wine drinkers with similar interests, wherever they may be, through the wonders of Google.

    La Madelene looks like a dream come true--both for you and for Rhone wine lovers like me. If I had the time and money, I would probably be on every single tour. We have visited the area twice--once in 1992 when we stayed with our kids in Vaison la Romaine and in Orange and again two summers ago when we stayed at Les Florets in Gigondas. Each time, the visit was all too short, and we intend to return. If and when we do, we'll certainly put La Madelene on our itinerary. It looks like an ideal way to combine food, wine and sight seeing.

    Thanks again for your interest. And come back regularly to comment on posts or add those of your own.

  5. I feel so identify with this because my aunt is the owner of a big vineyard and he select the most perfect grapes to reach a wine with an excellent flavor.