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Montirius Le Clos 2010

Rhone Red Blends from Vacqueyras, Rhone, France
    14.5% ABV
    • RP92
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    • WS93
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    14.5% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    The wine is deep, dark, dense and age-worthy.

    50% Grenache, 50% Syrah

    Critical Acclaim

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    Montirius

    Montirius

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    Montirius, Vacqueyras, Rhone, France
    Eric and Christine Saurel began bottling wine under the Montirius label with the 1996 vintage (the name is a contraction of their childrens’ names: Manon, Justine, and Marius). Eric is the fifth generation to assume the mantle of vigneron in the Saurel family. His grandfather was instrumental in the development of the Vacqueyras co-op after WWI and the Saurels remained important members until 2002, when Eric and Christine pulled out.

    The Montirius vineyards have been organic since 1990 and certified biodynamic since 1999. The Saurels make the following wines with a decided emphasis on purity--they are made entirely in large cement vats without any wood influences.

    Vacqueyras

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    This charming appellation within the Cote du Rhone Villages was second only to Gigondas to earn its own village appellation status. Its wines may be red, rosé or white—though hardly any is white. Its high winemaking standards follow many of the same rules as Chateauneuf-du-Pape. But for Vacqueyras red wines, half of the grapes have to be Grenache and the remainder is usually a combination of Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault.

    While they can be robust and rustic in style, typically a great Vacqueyras red combines delicate aromas with intense fruit and a bright, crisp texture. They certainly don’t lack any character and show an abundance of black cherry, wild berry, plum, fig, baking spice, and a touch of game or smoke.

    Rhône Blends

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    With bold fruit flavors and accents of spice, Rhône red blends originated in France’s Southern Rhône valley and have become popular in Priorat, Washington, South Australia, and California’s Central Coast. In the Rhône itself, 19 grape varieties are permitted for use, but many of these blends, are based on Grenache and supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre, earning the nickname “GSM blends.” Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape are perhaps the best-known outposts for these wines. Other varieties that may be found in Rhône blends include Carignan, Cinsault, and Counoise.

    In the Glass

    The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache, which often forms the base of these blends, is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit, a plush texture, and often high levels of alcohol. Syrah supplies darker fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy, and meaty notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume as well as body, tannin, and a healthy dose of color. New World examples will lie further along the fruit-forward end of the spectrum, while those from the Old World taste and smell much earthier, often with a “barnyard” character that is attractive to many fans of these wines.

    Perfect Pairings

    Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. Depending on the weight and alcohol level, these can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes—they play equally well with beef, pork, duck, lamb, or game. With their high acidity, these wines are best-matched with salty or fatty foods, and can handle the acidity of tomato sauce in pizza or pasta. Braised beef cheeks, grilled lamb sausages, or roasted squab are all fine pairings.

    Sommelier Secret

    Some regions like to put their own local spin on the Rhône red blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin, and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or even Tempranillo make an appearance.

    WBW30081914_2010 Item# 115487