Vallot Vinsobres ‘Le Coriançon’ 2016 $34.99
This month we dive into a comparative study of two regions that are often lumped together even though they couldn’t be more different–the Northern and Southern Rhône. Though these two regions are indeed contiguous, the terroir, geology, and climate are markedly different. This is why, in part, they rely on different varieties–Syrah in the north and Grenache in the south. By now, everyone knows the big name appellations in both regions, from Côte Rôtie in the North to Châteauneuf du Pape in the south. But there is still much terroir to explore in both north and south, and so this month we delve into wines from lesser-known (but no less profound) appellations.
We begin with one of our favorite under-the-radar southern appellations, Vinsobres. This appellation was formerly part of the Côtes de Rhône Villages AOC, before being given its own AOC among the likes of Châteauneuf, Gigondas, and Vacqueyras in 2006. This is ground-zero for great, Mediterannean Grenache with class, and Domaine Vallot’s is among the best we’ve come across.
A classic regional blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre from Biodynamically-farmed fruit, Vallot’s Vinsobres from high-altitude sites (up to 1,450 feet above sea level). The combination of the altitude and the persistent mistral wind flowing from the mountains in an otherwise warm, Mediterranean region allow for the creation of a big, burly Grenache-based wine that retains ample acidity, and drinks with elegance. The Vallot Grenache and Mourvèdre vines are over 65 years old and are co-fermented, while the small percentage of Syrah is done so separately before being blended and aged in concrete. As ageworthy as great Châteauneuf, this wine has much generosity to offer today, paired with roasted or braised meats, and given time to breathe.