Monday, November 16, 2009

Domaine de Font-Sane Cotes du Ventoux, 2005

Among the winemakers of Gigondas (mostly male), Veronique Peysson-Cunty has a reputation for adding a feminine touch to the appellation's often burly and rustic wines. Mme Peysson-Cunty's Cotes du Ventoux, by contrast, comes across as particularly big, bold and fruity.

One of my favorite every day wines, the Font-Sane Cotes du Ventoux is traditionally made: the grapes are hand picked, never de-stemmed and never see new oak. A relatively short fermentation (8 to 15 days) is done in closed cement vats at very cool temperatures to preserve the freshness of the fruit. The result is a wine that is exceptionally fruity and aromatic with fine, sweet tannins. My impression on tasting a young vintage of this wine is that it's going to last and improve for decades, but I think it's wise to follow Peysson-Cunty's advice on the label: "keep 2-3 years." Although I've never tried extended aging (as I have with the similarly styled Sainte Anne wines), I've found that the wines tend to lose some of their vibrant charm after four to five years in the bottle. That's no problem; these wines are beautiful to drink at every opportunity.

A bottle of the 2006 I had last month was a bit closed, but this 2005 is begging to be enjoyed right now. It's a very deep crimson, typical of fine Grenache. The aromatics are cool and fragrant--red berries, garrigue, flowers--and the flavors are ripe and inviting but with a firm tannic core. This is a wine for drinking with serious meals--lamb or salmon, take your pick. The '07 is on the market now and undoubtedly drinking even better than this lovely '05. The price: under $10 at Village Corner or Plum Market in Ann Arbor.

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