Domaine Gramenon are one of brightest lights in the Rhône…..the domaine was formed in 1990 by Phillipe and Michelle Aubery-Laurent in the Côtes-du-Rhône Villages appellation of Vinsobres, between Grignan and Nyons. Phillipe was tragically killed in a hunting accident in 1999 and the amazing Michelle has continued on the stellar work of the domaine, along with her talented son, Maxime François.
The domaine employs organic and biodynamic practices in their vineyards and a very considered, hands-off approach in the cellar….this sustainability flows over into other aspects of the property where they grow their own food and raise livestock.
These are wines that will reboot your perceptions of the humble Côtes du Rhône appellation….. they are brilliant, deep, juicy wines of great character from some ancient old vine stocks….up to 110 years old for one particular Grenache vineyard. The Poignee de Raisins comes off a Grenache vineyard with vines that are between 5-30 years old….the soils here are clay and limes stone with gravels, galets roulés and patches of sand.
No tickery in the winery here either…..harvest by hand, gravity fed cement cuves , wild yeast ferments, bugger-all sulphur use, no fining, no filtration, bottled by hand, ageing in old demi-muids and foudres….ticks all the boxes for this vinofreak.
In the case of the Poignee de Raisins, the grapes are partially de-stemmed and spend 10 days macerating in cement cuve…..the wine also ages for 6 months in cuve prior to bottling.…..I believe it only sees around 15 ppm of SO2 at bottling and that is its lot on the sulphur front.
A slightly, turbid purple “grapey hue in the glass…..juicy, pure, vibrant fruit aromas of black fruit compote….blackberry, black plum and black cherry fruits virtually burst out of the glass with dashes of higher toned blue-fruits sitting in the background. There are hints of earth/stone, dried flowers, jasmine, pepper, spice box, red licorice, ginger cake and a touch of green tobacco leaf.
Medium-bodied on the palate….fresh, pure and juicy tasting but not as exuberant as the 2009 model and lacking that vintages level of extract…..what you get in the trade off though, is more drive and structure with a decidedly stony, savoury twang to the finish and those are characters that I find very appealing indeed.
There’s plenty of pure, deep blackfruits….plum, cherry and blackberry with some attractive blueberry top-notes. A very fresh palate presence with hints of Asian spice, jasmine, grilled meats, licorice, gingerbread earth, pepper, graphite and minerals. The tannins are ripe and super fine grained….like powdered granite…..and pleasingly assertive too without being over the top and they are balanced on a knifes-edge of brilliant acidity. Just the merest hint of alcohol showing on the finish but that’s no big deal when presented with a wine like this….it is just a joy to drink.
Price: $45 – Closure: Cork – Alcohol: 14.5% – Source: Cellar – Importer: Andrew Guard Fine Wines