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Gilles Troullier L'Esprit du Temps 2013

Grenache from Languedoc-Roussillon, France
    0% ABV
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    Winemaker Notes

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    Gilles Troullier

    Gilles Troullier

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    Gilles Troullier, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
    Having labored for a decade in near anonymity at Domaine Bila-Haut, Gilles Troullier, a native of the Rhône, and an expert in biodynamic farming has been liberated from his contractual relationship with his former employer. How a scattered four hectares of vines represented a threat to a wine empire seems curious, but at least we can now give Gilles the attention he so rightfully deserves. His vineyards are located in the northern region of the Roussillon in a sub-zone formerly made famous by the fortified wine, Maury. As tastes have moved away from these sweeter styles of wine there was a brief moment when vineyards in the area were favorably priced – especially considering the range of terroirs: limestone, schist and granite, the elevation of the vineyards and the average age of the vines. This was the opportunity that brought Gilles Troullier to the Roussillon.

    Ripeness in the Roussillon has never been a problem. The struggle is how to achieve balance in such a warm, dry climate. Biodynamics plays an important role but great wine is not solely a creation of the vineyard. Hand harvesting, indigenous fermentations and a preference for large, neutral aging vessels as well as an approach that seeks infusion rather than extraction are human decisions that result in balanced, vigorous and fresh wines. They not only transmit varietal characteristics but the minerality of the soil as well. Gilles is a ruthless perfectionist and will skip a vintage if the wine doesn’t meet his exacting standards – in 2010 he didn’t make L’Esprit du Temps and in 2011 he skipped Boreal. Apart from his white wine, L’Imprévue which is a blend of Grenache Blanc and Gris, each cuvée represents a single varietal from a specific terroir. Each is a perfect snapshot in time of a unique place.

    Languedoc-Roussillon

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    An extensive appellation producing a diverse selection of good-quality and value-priced wines, Languedoc-Roussillon is one of the world’s largest wine-producing region, spanning the Mediterranean coast from the Spanish border to Rhône. Languedoc forms the eastern half of the larger appellation, while Roussillon is in the west; the two actually have quite distinct personalities but are typically grouped together. Languedoc’s terrain is generally flat coastal plains, with a warm Mediterranean climate and a frequent risk of drought. Roussillon, on the other hand, is defined by the rugged Pyrenees mountains and near-constant sunshine.

    Virtually every style of wine is made in this expansive region. Dry wines are often blends, and varietal choice is strongly influenced by the neighboring Rhône Valley. For reds and rosés, the primary grapes include Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault, and Mourvèdre. White varieties include Grenache Blanc, Muscat, Ugni Blanc, Vermentino, Maccabéo, Clairette, Piquepoul and Bourbelenc.

    International varieties are also planted in large numbers here, in particular Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In Roussillon, excellent sweet wines are made from Muscat and Grenache in Rivesaltes, Banyuls and Maury. The key region for sparkling wines here is Limoux, where Blanquette de Limoux is believed to have been the first sparkling wine made in France, even before Champagne. Crémant de Limoux is produced in a more modern style.

    Grenache

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    Enjoying great glory across a variety of appellations, Grenache thrives in any warm, Mediterranean climate where ample sunlight allows its clusters to achieve full phenolic ripeness. The grape typically produces full-bodied reds interestingly light in both color and tannins. While it can make a charmingly complex single varietal wine, it also lends well to blending. Grenache's birthplace is Spain (there called Garnacha) where it remains important, particularly in Priorat where winemakers enjoy great liberties in blending Grenache with other varieties. Today it might be most well associated with the red blends of the Southern Rhône, namely Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Côtes du Rhône and its Villages. The Italian island of Sardinia produces bold, rustic Grenache (there called Cannonau) whereas in California, Washington and Australia, Grenache has achieved popularity both flying solo and in blends.

    In the Glass

    In sufficiently warm conditions, Grenache produces smooth and generous wines that are loaded with strawberry, cherry blackberry, purple plum and in the richest examples, even cocoa, black tea or licorice.

    Perfect Pairings

    Despite its bold flavors, Grenache has very mild-mannered tannins, which makes it eminently quaffable on its own, yet easy to match with food. Because of its friendly nature, Grenache is the ultimate barbecue red, pairing happily with lamb chops, pork loin or tri-tip. Unlike most other full-bodied reds, Grenache’s low tannin level ensures that it will not easily be fazed by a bit of spice.

    Sommelier Secret

    Sardinia is often revered for its association with a long and healthy life. Residents of the Italian island often live well into their 90s and beyond, crediting this to their antioxidant-rich red wines, like Cannonau, along with their healthy Mediterranean diet.

    UWWEC5560_2013 Item# 508596