Chateau La Roque Pic Saint Loup 2017
There is something timeless about La Roque’s Pic Saint Loup Rouge with its herbal bouquet and rich, fleshy texture, all free from any hint of modern trappings.
The picturesque landscape surrounding historic Chateau La Roque appears largely unchanged from how it must have been two thousand years ago. Ownership has changed hands many times since the Romans were first here, yet the soul of this special place remains in tact. Benedictine Monks created the sturdy vaulted-ceiling cellars that still house the bottles today. Winegrowing resumed in the 13th century when the de la Roque brothers planted new vines. Today, Chateau La Roque is in the capable hands of Cyriaque Rozier. This is unique terroir. Garrigue, the aromatic scrub brush that dominates the land, asserts its presence among the vines. In the wise words of KLWM salesperson/legend, Michael Butler, “Lay down a few cases of history.”
Pic Saint-Loup is defined by the Pic Saint-Loup Mountain in its center as well as Montagne de l’Hortus, a long ridge of Jurassic limestone rising over 2,000 feet some 15 miles inland from the Mediterranean. Elevated from the coastal plains, Pic Saint-Loup’s 1,000 hectares of vineyards on well-drained, limestone-based soils, are blessed with cooler nights, allowing low yields and grapes to fully ripen while retaining acidity. The region supports many different grape varieties since it is spread over a number of elevations and microclimates.
Approved only for reds and rosés, Pic Saint-Loup wines aim for complex, earthy elegance, and are worth putting down for a few years. The southern French trio Grenache, Syrah and Mourvédre must constitute 90% of the red blends. Cherry, plum and berry fruit pick up spicy, herbal overtones from the surrounding garrigue, giving the wines a great balance of power and delicacy. Pic St Loup rosés, often containing a good dollop of Mourvédre, show more grip and color than many southern French pinks; the best ones can age with grace for five years or more.
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.