Arthur Sellers Bulletin Archive

About Us
Arthur's Cellar
Wine Club
My Shopping Cart
My Order History
My Member Info
My Shares
Delivery Status
Tell a Friend
Friends of Arthur's Cellar
Contact Us

Bulletin Detail
Date October 20, 2016 
Title The Splendid 2015 Southern Rhônes From Domaine Palon 
Bulletin Untitled Page

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.

Domaine Palon
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.
Sébastien Palon … outstanding in his field!
Sébastien has turned out to be a wine-making magician, crafting elegant, exquisite potions from vines averaging over fifty years of age. Sébastien’s wife Marie Line looks after the winery’s administrative duties and manages the gift shop while the latest addition to the vinous dynasty, their son Noé makes regular guest appearances around the property. 

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.

2015 Côtes-du-Rhône ‘Cuvée Esparza’ – 13.5% Alc./Vol.
$22/$132 for 6
$21/$252 for 12 

This is an excellent Côtes du Rhone from a great year.  It is comprised of 69% Grenache, 16% Syrah and 15% Cinsault all hand-picked and sorted from the Palon’s two acres of vineyards in Vacqueyras. The yield was only 15 hl/ha! It is a dark and lustrous ruby red with hints of violet. The nose is of pronounced aromas of ripe cherries, plums, black currants, garrigue (the fragrant underbrush of Southern France), smoke, new leather, cassis and a hint of pepper. In the mouth it is big, round and satisfying with delicate tannins and good length. Served slightly chilled (16°-17°) it will go splendidly with roasts, grilled meats and medium cheeses. It will keep quite happily for three to five years. Order your succulent southern Rhône now, in six-bottle or twelve bottle cases.

2015 Vacqueyras ‘Blanc du Bary’ – 14.0% Alc./Vol.
$29/$174 for 6
$28/$336 for 12

I love this elegant white wine. It is comprised of 80% Clairette and 20% Grenache Blanc, all hand-picked of course from vines averaging more than forty-five years of age. The yield was but 13 hl/ha! It has seen some new oak, but not too much. It is a clear, bright yellow-gold colour with a vibrant nose of grilled almonds, peaches, pears, honeysuckle, vanilla, exotic spices, toast and minerals. It is very smooth and extremely well balanced – lots of fruit offset by a gorgeous acidity. It is fresh, complex and rich with wonderful flavours of peaches and pairs. It would be perfect, served at about 8°, with oysters, other shellfish, fish, goat cheese and rich poultry dishes. This is very yummy stuff indeed, very reminiscent of a top-flight Châteauneuf-du-Pape white. It will cellar nicely for at least five years. Caution, there is very little of it. Order your scarce and delicious white now, in six-bottle or twelve bottle cases.

2015 Vacqueyras Rouge – 14.5% Alc./Vol.  
$29/$174 for 6
$28/$336 for 12

This gorgeous, medium-bodied wine is made from 75% Grenache, 16% Mourvèdre and 9% Syrah, hand-picked from vines averaging more than forty-five years of age. The Mourvèdre and Syrah were aged in large oak casks for twelve months. It is a deep, pure garnet with complex aromas of plums, prunes, raspberries, black cherries, currants, new leather, Provençal spices with a note of black pepper and cloves. In the mouth it is fresh and lively with surprising complexity and excellent balance. And, oh those delicate, silky Palon tannins. This wine has lots of character, depth and substance and will go beautifully with roasted fowl and charcuterie. This lovely concoction is a real pleasure to drink right now and will continue be so for another eight to ten years. Order some of this very, very fine wine for your drinking pleasure, in six-bottle or twelve bottle cases.

2015 Gigondas Rouge – 14.5% Alc./Vol.
$32/$192 for 6
$31/$372 for 12

This elegant Gigondas is made from 79% Grenache, 15% Syrah and 6% Mourvèdre hand-picked from seven hectares of vines averaging well over fifty years of age. The Syrah and Mourvèdre are aged for twelve months in new oak casks. It is a pure purple with a lustrous sheen and offers up pronounced aromas of blackberries, black cherry jam, pepper, roasted coffee beans, garrigue, pepper, clove and licorice. It is surprisingly big and velvety (even more so than the 2010 vintage) in the mouth with gentle tannins and a long, perfumed finish. I’d like to see another six months to a year on it to get everything in proper balance. Served just below room temperature, this most impressive wine will go perfectly with magrets de canard, wild game, roasts and medium cheeses. I’d decant it for at least an hour before drinking. It will cellar well for ten to fifteen years. Get a great southern Rhône now, in six-bottle or twelve bottle cases.

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.

2012 Vacqueyras Rouge Magnums  - 14.0% Alc./Vol.
$64/$192 for 3
2012 Gigondas Rouge Magnums       - 14.0% Alc./Vol.
$70/$210 for 3

Both the 2012 Vacqueyras Rouge (only nine magnums remain) and the 2012 Gigondas are much like their 2015 counterparts; maybe not quite as round or full but both are remarkably delicious. Their aging potential is a couple of years longer than their regular-sized brethren. These are both classics from the excellent 2012 vintage.

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