Recently named Vigneron of the Year by two of France’s leading wine publications, Sylvain Fadat of Domaine d’Aupilhac is on a roll. And what better way to experience his talents than with his flagship bottling, from a stellar vintage, with a bit of bottle age? A medley of Mediterranean grape varieties dominated by Mourvèdre and Carignan, this is as good as it gets from the Languedoc: a full-bodied palate stainer flavored of southern France’s rustic backcountry, delivered with surprising elegance, and a fantastic value to boot.
The latest addition to our vigneron family from southern France, Ludovic Engelvin plies his trade in a remote land of garrigue, pine forest, and rocky vineyards west of Nîmes. He echoes his mentors, Didier Dagueneau and Didier Barral, in his minute attention to detail and anti-conventional attitude, taking a holistic approach to viticulture and winemaking with a special focus on regenerative farming and gentle, low-impact vinifications. Clausus is a pure Grenache in limestone soil, the product of infusion-style winemaking with no oak, fining, or filtration, and barely any sulfur. Its lingering finish conjures up the indulgent feeling of gorging oneself on a large bowl of luscious black cherries at their peak of summer ripeness.
Alain Pascal’s 2017 rouge is certainly still on the young side, but all it takes is a quick splash in a decanter to coax out its colorful, spirited Provençal soul. A bold, tannic beast scented of roasted herbs with a chewy texture as thick and deep as the clay soils that spawned it, this big baby roars out of the gate with real verve. You’ll do well to serve it a bit cool in the summer months.
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