JANUARY THIRST - PATRICK LESEC CÔTES DU RHÔNE 'BOUQUET' 2013

Patrick Lesec Côtes du Rhône ‘Bouquet’ 2013 - $15.99

STORY

It used to be widely accepted in the wine world that the best wines demanded cellar aging before being uncorked. If you bought a bottle of Barolo or Burgundy on release, you simply had to forget about it in your cellar for five to ten to fifteen years before enjoying it. Nowadays, though many age-worthy wines remain, most wine–from the top to the bottom–is made to enjoy now. This evolution has occurred as a result of many factors, but the reality is that even when it comes to very premium wines, wine drinkers aren’t as patient as they used to be. That being said, there is something special and solitary about drinking a mature bottle of wine at its peak. We don’t often talk about aging when it comes to value-driven wines, but well-made examples of sharply-priced bottles can often improve for up to a decade in the right conditions. As such, we’re pleased to present a familiar style of wine, Patrick Lesec’s Côtes du Rhône ‘Bouquet’, with some bottle age on it (seven years, to be price). New year, old wine.

TASTING

Though Côtes du Rhône is a vast appellation allowing for many kinds of blends, farming, and winemaking, the classic expression is mostly Grenache, with Syrah, Mourvèdre, and sometimes small percentages of other blender grapes. The wines are often dark, tannic, and ripe, with flavor profiles including notes such as blackberry, blueberry, roasted herbs, cured meat, damp earth, and tobacco. These flavors are all present in Patrick Lesec’s lovely 2013 ‘Bouquet’, but they have all begun to move into more mature, tertiary versions of themselves. Whereas the fruit in a young wine might be described as ‘fresh or tart’, here it is beginning to soften and sweeten in character, and the wine’s non-fruit flavors of damp earth, wild mushroom, and leather, are coming to the forefront. The tannins are present but finely integrated into the tasting experience–all indications of a wine drinking at or close to peak maturity. For a perfect pairing, try this with our recipe for Pelmeni.

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Patrick Lesec is a rarity in our selection in that he is a négociant. This means that he doesn’t own any vineyards himself but, rather, he sources grapes from trusted growers who are farming in line with his preferences, and makes the wine himself. Négociants rightfully got a bad rap in France several decades ago, when many produced very low quality wines, often skirting regulations or laws regarding quality, labelling, and blending. Nowadays, many of our favorite producers also act as négociants as a means of supplementing their own production. In the right hands, with an eye toward quality, wines made this way can be as good or better than those done by individuals growing their own grapes. Patrick’s approach in the cellar is minimalistic, and he opts for a combination of old wood and steel for aging ‘Bouquet’, allowing for both the preservation of freshness and also a certain amount of oxygenation during the aging process.

 TUNES FOR YOUR JUICE

by Liza Morgioni

You Can Bring Me Flowers- Ray Lamontagne

You might be better off bringing Patrick Lesec’s “Bouquet” Cotes du Rhone 2013 to someone than an actual bouquet of flowers. It’s that good. We wouldn’t want you to make the same mistake as the subject of the song, but you’re already on the right track by taking this bottle home.

Listen to the song, drink the wine, and picture the dusty but vibrant clay-limestone soils where these grenache and syrah grapes were grown.

Ray’s coarse but calming voice is reminiscent of the experience this wine provides. Lesec has expertly maneuvered this bold Cote du Rhone to be accompanied by soft aromatics and smooth tannins. This wine is a serious, full-bodied experience, but make no mistake- along with some notes of pepper and spices, you will also find it rounded out by ripe fruit. This combination will keep your taste buds on their toes and leave them excited with every sip. I dare say the jazz flute on this track can rise to that occasion!