If I was to say “Tavel” ….I would presume, in symmetrical word association style, that you would reply with rosé? Well here we have a Grenache Blanc from natural wine guru, Eric Pfifferling whose ancient vines are located just near the town of Tavel in the Southern Rhone.
Grenache Blanc is thought to be a mutation of the red variety that has spread out over the Pyrenees from Spain and into France. It plays a bit-part in the blends of the Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC’s (Chateauneuf is just across the river from Tavel) and also in the Riversaltes AOC….plus there is quite a bit planted through the Roussillon region.
Previously a beekeeper, Eric Pfifferling inherited 4 ha of vineyards from his Grandmother in 1988 and the Domaine L’Anglore was born. Some years the grapes were sold off to the local cooperative but soon another 3ha of vineyard land was purchased and by 2003 he was making the wines himself and bottling at the domaine. The vineyards here are strewn with gallets, the large, oval stones often associated with Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and are farmed organically….in fact since 2009 the vineyards are certified “agriculture biologique“.
Natural ferments, no enzymes and no sulphur additions during the winemaking process….with just a dab at bottling for the export wines the wines of Domaine L’Anglore show the fantastic purity, freshness and vitality that you would expect from a natural wine…..just great drinking wines with excellent clarity and focus.
Pale straw gold in the glass with a rich edge to the aromas flowing out of the glass. Nashi pear, white peach and custard apple with flashes of citrus fruits – grapefruit predominately along with wafts of Tahitian lime and pithy lemon. There’s hints of white flowers, nougat and marzipan with a light brush of nettle and the faintest glimpse of some underlying herbal nuance. A shimmer of stone and minerals in the mix here also with the faintest aroma of gingerbread lying way back.
Plenty of weight and texture on the palate…it is a wine with a real sense of latent power. The fruit characters here are crisp nashi pear, white peach and melon again with flashes of citrus brightness in the form of grapefruit and pithy lemon. There are hints of marzipan, white flowers, freshly cut fennel, minerals and fainter flavours of gingerbread, nettle and thyme.
It’s fleshy, textured and bright with a stony acid line and savoury sweep to the finish….there is a little alcohol apparent on the finish, not in a hot way, more a mouthfeel thing and like Gewurztraminer I think that is a characteristic of the variety. It’s a wine that sings out for food…some wicked charcuterie would do the trick but it is superb to drink just on its own also.
Price: $30 – Closure: Cork – Alcohol: 14% – Source: Cellar – Importer: Andrew Guard Wine Imports