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Plateau de Chenes Lirac Rouge 2011

Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
  • RP90
  • RP91
  • WS90
  • RP91
  • WS91
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Winemaker Notes

The appearance is an intense purple. The nose develops powerful aromas of black fruits, characteristic of over-ripe Grenache grown on rolled pebbles. There are also slight notes of smoke and spice, usually associated with that of Syrah. The palate has a dense, tannic structure that retains freshness and elegance.

Blend: 60% Syrah, 40% Grenache

Critical Acclaim

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RP 90
The Wine Advocate

An impressive new performer from Lirac, the Brechet family, who also owns the famous Chateau de Vaudieu in Chateauneuf du Pape (just south of Chateau Rayas), has 37 acres in Lirac. The consulting winemaker is Philippe Cambie, who is largely responsible for the tremendous upsurge in quality at Vaudieu over the last 4-5 years. The 2011 Plateau des Chenes, a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache aged 9 months in foudre and barrel, displays an inky/purple color along with a dense nose of black fruits, forest floor, acacia flowers, pepper and licorice. It possesses fabulous fruit on the attack and mid-palate, beautiful ripeness (especially for a 2011), and a soft, well-made, opulent finish. Drink this 2011 over the next 3-4 years.

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Plateau de Chenes

Plateau de Chenes

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Plateau de Chenes, , France - Rhone
Plateau de Chenes
The Brechet family has owned the vineyards for generations: Augustus and Juliette, Gabriel, and finally Sylvette, Laurent and Julien all share a passion for their wine. Today, Laurent and Julien represent the fifth consecutive generation winemaker of this saga, and are proud to continue the legacy.

Much attention is given to the land and environment. The methods they employ are strictly based on little to no intervention. It is the land that speaks and expresses its identity through each of the wines. In fact, some of the best vineyards are isolated among select vintages to express absolute purity in that renowned vintage.

The work of the Chateau is based on the fact that an entire year contributes to the collection of a vintage should be sound and of the highest quality. Therefore, the sustainable approach produces a low yield, promoting longevity and favoring a natural harmony – again, a restrained intervention.

The grape is the messenger of its environment and conveys the aromas that it amassed during its maturation. By a strict selection, only the most beautiful grapes enter the doors of the cellar. Then, each grape variety, environment and soil type combine to dictate the vinifcation method. Vinification adaptation is influenced and crafted with each vintage. The result is wine that exhibits the greatest purity and sincerity.

One of the most iconic regions of Italy for wine, scenery, and history, Tuscany is the world’s most important outpost for the Sangiovese grape. Ranging in style from fruity and simple to complex and age-worthy, as well as in price from budget-friendly to ultra-premium, Sangiovese makes up a significant percentage of plantings here, with the white Trebbiano Toscano trailing far behind. Within Tuscany, many esteemed wines are produced in their respective sub-zones, including Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Bolgheri, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The climate is Mediterranean and the topography consists mostly of picturesque rolling hills, with the hillside locations hosting the best vines, as Sangiovese ripens most efficiently with maximum exposure to sunlight.

Sangiovese at its simplest, often carrying a regional designation of Chianti or just Italy, produces straightforward pizza-friendly wines with bright red fruit and not much more, but at its best it shows remarkable complexity. In top-quality Sangiovese-based wines, expressive notes of sour cherry, balsamic vinegar, dried herbs, leather, fresh earth, dried flowers, anise, tobacco smoke, and cured meat fill the glass. Brunello in particular is sensitive to vintage variation, performing best in years that are not too hot and not too cold. Chianti is associated with tangy and food-friendly dry wines at various price points. A more recent phenomenon as of the 1970s is the “Super Tuscan”—a wine made from international grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, or Syrah, often grown in Tuscany’s Bolgheri region, with or without Sangiovese.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

SWS335430_2011 Item# 129384

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