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2012 Côtes du Vivarais

Domaine Gallety

2012 Côtes du Vivarais Domaine Gallety - Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant
Côtes du Vivarais may well be one of the Rhône Valley’s least-known crus. A small zone that earned AOC status only in 1999, it lies along the western banks of the Rhône, just south of Montélimar—roughly halfway in between great growths of the southern Rhône like Châteauneuf and the revered slopes of Cornas to the north. Grenache finds an unusually elegant expression in this slightly cooler zone, while Syrah, with its dense structure and savory aromas, is a natural companion in the blend. The Gallety family has farmed the limestone vineyards here for three generations now, proudly carrying the flag for the local wines. Organic farming is a central tenet of their efforts to showcase the Vivarais terroir, as are noninterventionist practices in the cellar, like racking by gravity and élevage in neutral wood. This full-bodied, spicy red could well replace Vacqueyras or Saint-Joseph as your go-to Rhône red.

Anthony Lynch

Vintage: 2012
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: 50% Syrah, 50% Grenache
Appellation: Côtes du Vivarais
Country: France
Region: Southern Rhône
Producer: Domaine Gallety
Winemaker: Alain Gallety
Vineyard: 40 years average, 13.8 ha
Soil: Clay, Limestone
Aging: Wine is aged in neutral oak barrels for about 15 months
Farming: Lutte Raisonnée
Alcohol: 13.5%

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About Southern Rhône

The southern Rhône valley is Grenache country. It’s also known for its stones. With a viticulture history dating back well before the Popes arrived in the 12th century and one of France’s oldest appellations d'origine contrôlée, Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe, the southern Rhône is unquestionably one of France’s best known and premier winegrowing regions. The wines have the pedigree and age-worthiness of Burgundy and Bordeaux, but with a rustic, Mediterranean character. Like most wines from southern France, the reds, whites, and rosés are blends. Filling out the Grenache for the reds and rosés, you’ll often find Syrah, Carignan, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault. The common white grape varieties are Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Viognier, Roussane, and Marsanne among others. From the alluvial riverbed stones found in Lirac, Tavel, and Châteauneuf to the limestone cliffs of the Dentelles de Montmirail that influence Beaumes-de-Venise (where you’ll find excellent Muscat), Vacqueyras, and Gigondas, great terroir abounds.

Kermit’s entrance in the region came in the mid 1970s on his first trip with Richard Olney, an American ex-pat and friend of Alice Waters. On that trip, Richard introduced Kermit to the Brunier family of Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe. Soon after, Kermit began importing the Brunier’s wines—their Châteauneuf-du-Pape “La Crau” bottling remains a staple of our portfolio today. In the late 1990s Kermit teamed up with the Brunier family to purchase the famed Gigondas estate, Domaine Les Pallières. More than 40 years later, we now import wines from fifteen southern Rhône domaines spanning the entire area of the region.

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For the wines that I buy I insist that the winemaker leave them whole, intact. I go into the cellars now and select specific barrels or cuvées, and I request that they be bottled without stripping them with filters or other devices. This means that many of our wines will arrive with a smudge of sediment and will throw a more important deposit as time goes by, It also means the wine will taste better.

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