Domaine La Bouissiere Vacqueyras 2007
Rhone Red Blends from Vacqueyras, Rhone, France
A magnificent blend of two distinct vineyards on the plateau of Vacqueyras—while "Bel Air" delivers ripe, youthful and vibrant fruit, "La Ponche" serves up the rich purple, almost royal, robe of the appellation with notes of tar, licorice and poached plums. The power of these two vineyards together was so convincing that winemaker Thierry Faravel was convinced that this was the path to take for 2007. Aromas remind of cherry liqueur and cola, while the mouth shows persistent black/red fruited flavors, with great grip and precision, underlying an almost creamy mouthfeel that is irresistible.
International Wine Cellar - "Bright ruby. Highly spicy aromas of fresh red berries, white pepper, cinnamon and lavender. Lush raspberry and cherry flavors coat the palate, enlivened by tangy minerals. Turns sweeter on the finish, which strongly repeats the floral note. This wine's abundant fruit will give it great early appeal. This blend of 64% grenache and 18% each of syrah and mourvedre will be the only cuvee of Vacqueyras made here in 2007. It's 16% alcohol but there's no heat or excess fat. 91-93"
Wine Spectator - "Dark and exotic, with lots of roasted cocoa, fig and black currant aromas and flavors, laced with smoked apple wood, tar and melted licorice. Stays rounded and fresh, with the fruit and minerality shining through on the finish. Drink now through 2013."
Domaine La Bouissiere Winery
Thierry and Gilles Faravel have serious mountaineer credentials in Gigondas. While other altitude-challenged winemakers stick to vineyards at the foot of the towering Dentelles de Montmirail, these brothers are proud to stake a claim further up these dizzying granite slopes.
This is mountain terroir, with cooler weather and demanding soils, a mix of limestone and clay. The family's Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre vines are mostly older (between 30 and 50 years) and are very low yielding. Because of the ideal conditions here, Thierry Faravel explained that they are the last domaine in Gigondas almost every vintage to start the harvest—the combination of exposure and altitude allows grapes to ripen slowly and evenly. What this means for the wine is more elegance and freshness, which is certainly what you'll discover in every one of the Faravels' unique mountain cuvées.
Thierry and Gilles grew up in Gigondas and learned much from their winemaking father, Antonin, who Thierry described as a “weekend winemaker.” While he worked at another domaine, Antonin would tend his family plots only on the weekends when he had free time. For almost two decades the family sold their fruit from these mountain plots, until they decided in 1979 to start bottling wines themselves.
Today, the Faravels are considered one of the leading artisan winemakers in Gigondas, if not in the whole southern Rhône valley. Since the late 80s, the family has been dedicated to organic farming, using organic fertilizers and as little sulfates as possible in their wines. “You have to respect the wine,” says Thierry, and this shows: harvest is always by hand, and wines are never pumped but led from tank to barrel via gravity. Vinification is always as natural as possible, each vintage dictating how the brothers handle each varietal through fermentation and aging. Wines are seldom fined or filtered—to quote Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, these wines are "vibrant" and utterly alive. Domaine la Bouïssiere wines, with their rich complexity and stunning freshness, definitely deserve serious real-estate in any serious cellar—10, 15 years is the norm for these impressive, long-lived cuvées.
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About VacqueyrasView a map of Vacqueyras wineries (vah-keh-rahs) Once just a Cotes-du-Rhone village, the wine of Vacqueyras made its mark and in 1990, gaining its own appellation. The wine is somewhat similar to its northern neighbor, Gigondas, and occasionally even more rustic. Vacqueyras wine gives off the flavors of the earth where the vines grow - wild herbs, spice and rocky soil.
Notable FactsLike other Southern Rhone wine, Grenache is the main player here, and a minimum of 50% of the varietal is required, allowing the blend more room for varietals like Syrah and Mourvedre. Often found for good value prices, these wines are perfect for hearty meat stews and herb-based dishes.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.