A year ago (July 25, 2008), this wine was irresistible; smelling it was "like sitting in a herb garden surrounded by flowers." The floral/garrigue elements are not quite as forward at this stage, but the wine is no less intriguing and enjoyable. The deep crimson color has faded just a bit with a year of aging, and the garrigue has given away to Grenache/Syrah berries with minty spice and black peppercorn. There is a tannic punch in the center but it draws you into the fruit rather than away from it. Very ripe but with good acidity.
Font-Sane makes one of my favorite Gigondas wines, but for less than half the price this Ventoux is a sure winner. I've been enjoying it nearly every vintage since 1998. Unlike the Gigondas, which has some staying power, there is no need to worry about when to drink this wine--the ripeness is now.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Domaine du Font-Sane Cotes du Ventoux, 2005
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I'm planning on trying this, Fred. Font-Sane is a little under the radar in Seattle, and it might have to wait until my next order from Bassins. Meanwhile, I noticed VC has the Terre du Mistral from the Est...something co-op. I had it at a restaurant a few weeks ago and was very impressed. Have you tried it yet?ReplyDelete
P.S....There's a bit of Counoise in the Mistral as well...E.ReplyDelete
I'll put Terre du Mistral on my shopping list, Eric. From what I've read (from the 2004 vintage), this estate went from being a Grenache-dominant wine to a blend with almost equal levels of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault with a bit of Mourvedre. Counoise must have been added since that time. The cooperative at Estezargues has a good reputation.ReplyDelete
I don't know if Trader Joe's has ever carried this wine, but it's the type of wine they often bring in at a deep discount. Their name for it would probably be Terre Vitis or Domaine de la Montagnette.
Right, Estezargues. Terre Vitis is now Terre du Mistral, and it's a coop wine, not Montagnette's alone. But from the taste, I doubt there's much Syrah. Very smooth, floral, nice acidity, but little spice. I liked it alot nonetheless. I could drink that and the La Roc all month long.ReplyDelete
I have a 2003 Gigondas. Would you cellar or open?
When to drink a 2003 Gigondas?That's a good question. I think I have one bottle myself (Font-Sane?) and one Bois du Boursan Chateauneuf. I will probably drink the Gigondas in 2010 or 2011, the CdP a couple of years later. But I'm aware I could be disappointed; they could be either too old or too young at that time. I'm just not comfortable with predicting the evolution of the 2003s.ReplyDelete
Is it more that 2003 was such a hot year, or that its a Gigondas? Which do you think further aging is more likely to improve?ReplyDelete
Generally, I tend to keep Gigondas probably longer than I should. At the tasting room in Gigondas, producers record in a book their recommendations for drinking, and there is a broad range. Some say to drink within three to four years; others give a longer time frame. I've always thought in terms of 8 to 15 years, but many of the wines I buy are long agers--Cayron, Saint Gayan, Raspail-Ay, Les Pallieres. I had the 1988 Goubert last year and it had aged beautifully. The 1988 Santa Ducs, as I remember, were in decline in the late 1990s. I still have Cayron from 1980, 1981, 1985, 1986 and 1988, and I'm confident they are all drinking beautifully--although the 1988 doesn't seem to have changed much.ReplyDelete
The 2003 vintage, with the warm growing season, is what I was referring to. Most of the lesser wines, such as the Font-Sane Cotes du Ventoux, got nasty much sooner in 2003 than I expected. I had a few bottles of the 2003 Trignon Rasteau (usually an excellent estate) that were almost undrinkable. I stashed the remaining bottles away, hoping that age would do it good but I'm doubtful.
Parker insists that 2003 is a great vintage and that these wines will reward aging. I am among those who disagree. Or I should say "doubtful" because I'm saving a few bottles just to see.
What I don't like about the 2003s is an uncharacteristic mintiness plus a sweet, raisined quality. Some people love those traits but I don't.
Dick Scheer and Rod Johnson, whose tastes I trust most with Rhone wines, seem to like the 2003s much better than I do. So follow your own inclinations.
I dislike the mint and raisined quality as well, Fred. I noticed both. in a couple bottles I tried last year. One was a Vacqueryas, one was a Rasteau, but I don't remember Domaine names very well. Several bottles of the 2003 Ortas I had were kind of pruny and raisined, although most came out pretty well.ReplyDelete
I tend to associate both qualities with overcooking, basically. Too hot a year, valley floors, none of the cooling breezes that help grapes develop more slowly. I've been pretty cautious about 2003 in general.
I was hoping my Gigontas would turn out to be from a higher up vineyard, and thus have had some protection.
You'll have to go to the Rhone some time, Eric. It's really shocking how close these appellations are to each other. Vacqueyras, for example, is only about five kilometers (maybe less) from Gigondas, and the terrain is very similar. Rasteau and Cairanne are farther north, but they're probably only 10K away. It's not so much the hills as the soil and the reputation of the vineyards. There IS a major difference between Vacqueyras and Gigondas; you know that. But if you stand there and look at the vineyards, you'd swear they would be the same.ReplyDelete
I hsven't been to Ventoux, but I understand that it has the highest elevation. And those are the cheapest wines.
How a domaine did in 2003 probably had more to do with its ability to handle the grapes and fermentaton--air conditioned cellar, temperature controlled fermentation tanks, etc.