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Brunier Benchmarks

by Jane Augustine

Buy this collection 2 bottles

The galet-littered soil of Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Buy this collection 2 bottles

Buy this collection 2 bottles

The galet-littered soil of Châteauneuf-du-Pape
The galet-littered soil of Châteauneuf-du-Pape

2021 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc “Clos la Roquète”

Frédéric & Daniel Brunier

France |  Southern Rhône

Discount Eligible $66.00
AT CART MAX

A leaner vintage, 2021 lended itself to blancs with a more marked minerality than is typical for Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Harvested on a sunny morning in late August, grapes from La Roquète—equal parts Clairette, Roussanne, and Grenache Blanc—turned out as elegant as ever: ripe with juicy stone fruit, a lovely bitterness, and more delicate aromas like jasmine and anise. Enjoy this white with anything from a goat cheese tart to a platter of prosciutto, or with a favorite white fish entrée—prepared amandine, perhaps?

2020 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Piedlong”

Famille Brunier

France |  Southern Rhône

Discount Eligible $73.00
AT CART MAX

Historically, the Bruniers’ La Crau bottling has been their flagship wine, their grand cru of sorts. In 2011 they decided to isolate the fruit from a promising vineyard with galet-littered soil from a separate plateau known as Piedlong, which lies at the summit of the appellation. This bottling might be—in essence—their other grand cru. Piedlong is a vineyard inherited from Daniel and Frédéric Brunier’s grandmother over thirty-five years ago, but the fruit was always blended into other wines. For various reasons, some unexplainable, fruit from Piedlong ripens about two weeks later than on La Crau, which gives it an immediate advantage, as a slow ripening process allows grapes to gain in complexity. The resulting cuvée—made from 90% Grenache—is therefore a kind of tribute to the grape and its ability to express terroir with purity. While visiting the domaine recently, we tasted one of the first vintages, a 2012 that was refined and elegant, and a beautiful pairing with spit-roasted lamb. I got the sense that Daniel is truly proud of what his family is building with this cuvée, as if somehow the wine will be the future of the domaine and, in many ways, the legacy of his generation. Not surprisingly, the 2020 vintage drinks like something even more ethereal than you’d expect from a southern red: it’s mineral and structured but with delicate aromas of rose petal, currants, and réglisse. Piedlong is a new classic. 

More from the July 2024 Newsletter