Andre Brunel Cotes du Rhone Villages Cuvee Sabrine 2010
This wine is a blend of 75% 40+ year old Grenache blended with 30+ year old Syrah, and a dollop of Mourvedre. The vinification is classic Brunel with 80% of the grapes de-stemmed to ensure the purity and roundness of the Grenache fruit. This tiny cuvée is entirely made in stainless steel tank and fashioned in a supple, open style with a powerful core of fruit.
The Brunel family’s winemaking history reaches back to the 17th century with the purchase of a vineyard plot to the north of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation from the Bishop of Avignon. Numerous generations followed, all working in the vineyards, but it was in 1954 that Lucien Brunel created the name "Les Cailloux" or "The Pebbles" to promote the Domaine’s wine qualities and special geological characteristic of the large oval stones covering his vineyards.
In 1971, Lucien’s son André Brunel took the helm at Domaine Les Cailloux. His endless motivation and eye for quality resulted in a steady expansion of the family’s vineyards with acquisitions in the Côtes du Rhône and select plots of Vaucluse Vins de Pays. In 1989 he launched the now coveted Cuvée Centenaire and continued to improve the vineyard management practices. André was one of the first in Châteauneuf-du-Pape to use tailored ground cover methods and to practice a non-chemical approach to farming his vineyards.
In 2012, André’s son, Fabrice Brunel, joined the team to ensure the family’s history and passion would continue. The pursuit for quality; the utmost respect for the land; and the drive to produce beautiful wines, which are both enjoyable in the immediate present as well as in future years with excellent aging potential, the Brunel family is meticulous in cultivating vineyards, sourcing quality grapes, and winemaking style.
Typically thought of as a baby Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the term Côtes du Rhone actually doesn’t merely apply to the flatter outskirts of the major southern Rhône appellations, it also includes the fringes of well-respected northern Rhône appellations. White can be produced under the appellation name, but very little is actually made.
The region offers some of the best values in France and even some first-rate and age-worthy reds. Red varieties include most of the Chateauneuf-du-Pape varieties like Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, and Counoise, as well as Carignan. White grapes grown include Grenache blanc, Roussanne and Viognier, among others.
With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre form the base of the classic Rhône Red Blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. Though they originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley, with some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in other countries. Somm Secret—Putting their own local spin on the Rhône Red Blend, those from Priorat often include Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.