Domaine Charvin Le Poutet Cotes du Rhone 2017
Organically farmed and harvested by hand. The vines are planted on a sandy terroir with more clay than limestone and with some round stones (galets roulés). The slopes are north facing and the parcels are just on the northwest limit of the CDP lieu-dit Maucoil. Only indigenous yeasts are used for fermentation in cement tanks.
Laurent Charvin has only 10 ha of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Until recently, Laurent was almost the only grower to still vinify traditionally, with whole-cluster fermentations. Now others are beginning to copy him. In addition to leaving the stems, Laurent’s élevage is uniquely in concrete tank, no barrel. Laurent is regarded as one of the top wine-makers in the appellation by Guy Julien, famous owner of the restaurant Beaugraviere in Mondragon, as well as other top sommeliers and wine writers in France, with a two-star rating by Revue du Vin de France.
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.