Arthur Sellers Bulletin Archive
Dear Arthur’s Cellar Wine Club Member:
Last May Hélène and I once again had the distinct pleasure of visiting the Palons (that’s Noé, Sébastien and Marie Line waiting for us outside their tasting room) in Gigondas where we gleefully sampled their latest creations from the superb 2015 vintage. It was an arduous task, but it simply had to be done. Domaine Palon is one of our favourite wineries. They produce wonderful, elegant wines and their most recent elixirs certainly live up to their well-earned reputation.
The estate is located just below the fairytale village of Gigondas between Orange and Vaison-la-Romaine in the heart of Provence. The property covers fifteen hectares: seven devoted to Gigondas; five to Vacqueyras; two to Côtes du Rhône, and; one to table wine. The Palons produce a very limited quantity of superb wine each year.
Domaine Palon is a real family affair with a century-long grape growing tradition. Back in 1915, Valérie and Léopold Palon were wine makers in Gigondas and their son Jean founded the Cave Coopérative de Gigondas and served as its administrator from 1956 to 1978. His son, Jean-Pierre took over the reins of the co-op in 1978 (Jean-Pierre’s wife Annie was the financial director) and ran it until 2001, all the while selling his grapes to the same co-op. When Jean-Pierre’s son Sébastien graduated from oenology school, the family decided to leave the co-op and start making their own wines. 2003 was their first vintage.
Jeb Dunnuck (Wine Advocate) on the 2012 Southern Rhônes
“Gigondas is by far the standout, with extremely high-quality 2012s. In fact, I was shocked at the overall quality of the 2012s from this appellation, and in addition to the normal spice-driven aromatics and big structure that accompanies most wines from the region, the 2012s have beautiful purity of fruit and voluptuous, rounded textures that were hard to spit. Vacqueyras was also successful, more so in 2012 than 2011, with the majority of the releases being more mid-weight, charming and upfront.”
My takes on the 2013, 2014 and 2015 vintages in the Southern Rhône: Summer was cool and wet in 2013 resulting in a sub-standard Grenache crop. Decent wine was possible, but only with arduous sorting. But even the decent wine is somewhat one dimensional and unexciting. With lots of 2012s still around and the wonderful 2015 vintage upon us, I would keep away from the 2013s.
2014 was a bit hotter and drier during the prime growing months, but still the Grenache was late to mature (if it ever did in some vineyards). Once again, careful hand sorting was necessary and those who did so, like the Palons, made very decent wines reminiscent of the 2011s.
From what we saw and learned from our vintners during the harvest and our extensive barrel sample tastings this spring, 2015 looks to be a very, very good (and perhaps great) year in the Southern Rhône. It was a hot summer and the Grenache ripened beautifully. Time will tell, but I can hardly wait to try them.
The Wines of Domaine Palon
We are delighted to once again offer you the wondrous southern Rhônes from Domaine Palon – this time from the outstanding 2015 vintage - the 2015 Côtes-du-Rhone ‘Cuvée Esparza’; 2015 Vacqueyras Rouge; 2015 Vacqueyras ‘Blanc du Bary’, and; 2015 Gigondas Rouge. Oh yes, we have the 2012 Vacqueyras and 2012 Gigondas in magnums as well.
And, the Palons have created a Sampler for us containing three bottles each of the 2015 Vacqueyras, two bottles of the 2015 Gigondas Rouge and one bottle of the 2015 Vacqueyras ‘Blanc du Bary’. All but the magnums (3 magnum cases) come in six-bottle as well as twelve-bottle cartons. We will be taking your orders to the LCBO on Friday, November 4th.
Palon 2015 Southern Rhône Sampler – 14.0% - 14.5% Alc./Vol. $30/$180 for 6
This is a great way to try three beautiful and distinctive Southern Rhônes from Domaine Palon. You get three bottles of the 2015 Vacqueyras Rouge, two bottles of the 2015 Gigondas Rouge and one bottle of the 2015 Vacqueyras ‘Blanc du Bary’. A taste of the Southern Rhône just doesn’t get much better than this. Order your six pack of pure elegance now.
Order your 2012 Vacqueyras magnums or 2012 Gigondas magnums now.
The LCBO is the only entity authorized to sell beverage alcohol in Ontario. Arthur Sellers & Company and Arthur’s Cellar Wine Club do not sell or markup beverage alcohol, but rather, arrange for customers to purchase it from the LCBO. Our prices indicated above and on our website include the LCBO sale price plus a fee to cover the cost of sourcing, handling and marketing the wine. The LCBO’s sale prices are available on request.
It would be really spiffy if you would pass this note on to anyone you think might be interested in some very, very good Southern Rhônes.
Many thanks and cheers!
Jim, Hélène and Kate