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 2016 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 Wines of Domaine Palon
We are delighted to once again offer you the wondrous southern Rhônes from Domaine Palon – this time from the truly outstanding 2016 vintage - the 2016 Côtes-du-Rhone ‘Cuvée Esparza’; 2016 Vacqueyras Rouge; 2016 Vacqueyras ‘Blanc du Bary’, and; 2016 Gigondas Rouge. All currently come in six-bottle cartons (we hope the LCBO will soon make them available by the bottle; so you can mix and match!). Please let me know if you would like me to place your orders directly with LCBO.com for you.
2016 Côtes du Rhône ‘Cuvée Esparza’ – Domaine Palon – 16.0% Alc./Vol. LCBO Product No. 479369 $20.90/$125.40 per 6 bottle case
2016 Vacqueyras ‘Blanc du Bary’ – Domaine Palon - 13.5% Alc./Vol. LCBO Product No. 479385 $28.75/$172.50 per 6 bottle case
2016 Vacqueyras Rouge – 15.0% Alc./Vol. LCBO Product No. 479377 $29.95/$179.70 per 6 bottle case
2016 Gigondas Rouge – 15.0% Alc./Vol. LCBO Product No. 479393 $32.95/$197.70 per 6 bottle case
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 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.
The estate is located just below the fairy tale 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.
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.
From what we saw and learned from our vintners during the harvest and from our extensive, self-sacrificing barrel sample tastings last spring, 2016 looks to be a very special year n the Southern Rhône. It was a hot summer and the Grenache ripened beautifully. Time will tell, but I can hardly wait to try them (which we will be doing all this April; work, work, work!).
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