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My notes after tasting this wine for the first time with Daniel Brunier last year ended emphatically with “THIS IS THE FUTURE” in capital letters. When speaking about the Grenache-based reds of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, many of you can probably guess what I meant—a bunch of adjectives rarely associated with this storied appellation lately: drinkability, elegance, finesse, balance, freshness.
Here are the rest of my tasting notes: Beautiful, luminous, medium ruby robe. The explosive nose is a basket of ripe red fruits. First taste impression is supple, with smooth, silky tannins. The finish is an enormous fireworks display of filtered-over-stones minerality that is textbook (and old-school) La Crau, the Bruniers’ original Châteauneuf cuvée. This wine really sneaks up on you, by seducing with its upfront sweetness and approachability and then tackling the intellect with its class, complexity, and distinctive terroir stamp.
Of course, Piedlong rivals the great terroir of La Crau, which explains a lot of the magic. Boasting the same riverbed stones and underlying clay, it also enviably occupies the high-altitude point of the appellation, an advantage today. The Grenache from this site is blended with Mourvèdre from the sandy lieu-dit of Pignan, which lends uncharacteristic finesse to the south’s wild dark-horse grape. This masterful blend gives us a more approachable wine than La Crau in its youth, with a unique and delicious character.
All Grenache in the world should aspire to be this gorgeous. A triumph from Daniel, Frédéric, Edouard, and Nicolas Brunier. BRAVO!!
|Blend:||90% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre|
|Producer:||Frédéric & Daniel Brunier|
|Winemaker:||Frédéric & Daniel Brunier|
|Vineyard:||Grenache = 70 years old, Mourvèdre = 50 years old, 13 ha|
|Soil:||Sand on red clay and galets roulés|
|Aging:||Wine is aged in concrete tanks for 1 year, then aged a second year in 50 hl foudre, bottled unfined and unfiltered, aged in bottle for 3 months|
Every three or four months I would send my clients a cheaply made list of my inventory, but it began to dawn on me that business did not pick up afterwards. It occurred to me that my clientele might not know what Château Grillet is, either. One month in 1974 I had an especially esoteric collection of wines arriving, so I decided to put a short explanation about each wine into my price list, to try and let my clients know what to expect when they uncorked a bottle. The day after I mailed that brochure, people showed up at the shop, and that is how these little propaganda pieces for fine wine were born.—Kermit Lynch