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June | From the Archives: 1997 Domaine du Gros Noré

October 1999 Newsletter

by Kermit Lynch

June | From the Archives: 1997 Domaine du Gros Noré - Kermit Lynch
June | From the Archives: 1997 Domaine du Gros Noré - Kermit Lynch

The winemaker is Alain Pascal, a living, breathing hunk of Provence. This 1997 is his domaine’s debut bottling.
    Alain’s father, who planted the vineyard at La Cadière d’Azur, was named Honoré. Locals called him Noré for short. He was a massive, broad-backed fellow. I remember seeing him around. How could anyone forget seeing him? He seemed to fill the landscape. Alain inherited his dad’s chiseled features, fit for a Provençal Mt. Rushmore. And Alain named his domaine after his dad. Gros Noré. Big Noré.
    Several times this summer I crossed the little valley that separates my house from his. He’s a hunter, too, so along with the wines I have been served bloody, barely cooked little birdies (you are supposed to eat them crunchy bones and beaks and all), delicious homemade pâtés, and a sickeningly flavored leg of wild boar that I could barely cut through with knife and fork, much less chew, much less (gag) swallow. Folks, I do it for you, to score for you that rare prize, a natural wine.
    Alain is a naif when it comes to wine. He does not know where Chablis is, for example. And he thinks Côte-Rôtie is a blend of Syrah and Mourvèdre! But you should see the look on his face, the glow, the boyish excitement when he runs off to find us an old bottle he and his father made for their own drinking. (They sold most of their grapes to domaines Pibarnon and Ott and the local cooperative.) It is rustic, oh yes, rustic in the good sense. Of this earth, of this sun. Those older bottles, 1993, 1989, 1985, are totally convincing Bandols. He loves big, old-fashioned wines and seems pretty happy to have found a client who wants to buy the kind of wine he likes to make. —October 1999

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