This month Le Du's is exploring the phenomenal wines of Provence, that are NOT Rose. While Provence has a long history of making Rose, for most of the region's history the Rose was a byproduct of more ambitious red wine production, similar to their neighbors to the east in the Rhone Valley and Chateuneuf-du-Pape. Today however, while most old wine making families have been bought out by new money to feed our insatiable hunger for easy going pink wine, there are still a few legends working in the old ways or young luddites on a quest to rediscover them.
The result are small pockets of some of the best artisan wines made in all of France that work just as well for a beautiful spring day as they do for a cozy night in with a rustic home meal. It is also a place where one can still find older vintages of great wines available, which I was super happy to be able to acquire for you all this month! Below are the wines included in the shipment, with special Grand Crew pricing in brackets if you wish to purchase any additional bottles.
Domaine Hauvette Alpilles Blanc Jaspe 2016 $44.99 ($35.99)Dominique Hauvette is perhaps the most well known and best respected producer of non-rose wines in all of Provence, and while her Red wines are certainly more well known, her white wines are also truly spectacular. She is nestled into the foothills of Les Alpilles, not far from where Van Gogh painted Starry Night. The Jaspe is 100% Roussanne, a variety similar to Chardonnay from Burgundy albeit with a more savory personality. This wine launches out of the glass with notes of citrus, curry leaf, and garrigue. Delicious!
Domaine Sulauze Charbonnieres Rouge Vin de France 2018 $22.99 ($18.39)
Domaine Sulauze is a relatively new estate in the region, and particularly unusual for a new estate in Provence, they produce more red wine than they do Rose. Even in their red wines, however, they are still aiming to create wines of freshness and ease that would drink well on a wam Provencal day. The Charbonnieres is a new wine of theirs with very limited production from mostly Grenache with a touch of Syrah, made with a special kind of partial carbonic fermentation which sees whole clusters of grapes totally submerged in pressed juice and then allowed to soak in the cold for two weeks before fermentation is allowed to begin naturally. The result is a wine of incredible purity and intensity of fruit yet a lightness and elegance that one would expect from a wine with far less textural and aromatic complexity. Dangerously gulpable.
Domaine Henri Milan, Le Clos Milan Baux de Provence 2006, $64.99 ($51.99, only 6 additional bottles available)
Where the Charbonnieres is sunshine in a glass, Henri Milan's Le Clos Milan is designed to show off the power and complexity that is capable of being produced in the region. This wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre from old vines grown on sand, aged in old barrique for two years before a further two years in large vats. The wine has then been developing in bottle at the winery ever since, and was just recently released in a tiny quantity. This is like a great bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and worth preparing a nice meal at home to accompany it.