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2016 Les Baux de Provence Rouge “Cornaline”

Domaine Hauvette
Discount Eligible $69.00

Until this summer, I had never visited Domaine Hauvette, the mythical winery in Saint-Rémy de Provence that Dominique Hauvette, in an unlikely turn of events, founded in the 1980s. Before then, she worked as a lawyer in Savoie, but found herself called to the south to “live in color,” as she puts it. What I discovered during my visit was even lovelier than I imagined: a remote oasis of sun-drenched parcels, buzzing vineyards flanked by the Alpilles mountains on the horizon, and limestone-studded soils littered with fossils. To witness Dominique, amid her vibrant vines, inviting us to take in the fleeting perfume of floraison, I had a thought: Did I need to be living in color, too?
     All of Dominique’s wines are named after precious stones. Cornaline, a red-hued jewel, lends its name to this gorgeous blend of old-vine Syrah, Grenache, and Cabernet Sauvignon which she ferments and ages in giant foudres. After seven years, the 2016 is in its sweet spot, with autumnal aromas of sous-bois, hazelnut, and black tea, while still evoking sumptuous fruits like sour plum and fig, which make this cuvée distinctly Provençal. Ideas for pairings range from late-summer tomates farcies, to squash ravioli, caponata salad, or marinated flank steaks seared pink to perfection. The wine is so stunning, the meal can be simple.
     Without the least bit of pretension, Dominique once told me she sees herself as a wine medium more than a winemaker, doing all she can to grow high-quality fruit (she works organically and biodynamically) and to intervene as little as possible in the cellar. To drink her wines is to experience a piece of land untouched by machines or modern ennuis, lovingly cultivated with the widely forgotten wisdom of yesteryear.

Jane Augustine

Technical Information
Wine Type: red
Vintage: 2016
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon
Appellation: Les Baux de Provence
Country: France
Region: Provence
Producer: Domaine Hauvette
Winemaker: Dominique Hauvette
Vineyard: 40 years average, 12 ha
Soil: Clay, Limestone
Aging: Wine is raised in foudre
Farming: Biodynamic (practicing)
Alcohol: 13%

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About The Region


map of Provence

There is perhaps no region more closely aligned with the history of Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant than Provence. While Kermit began his career as a Burgundy specialist, he soon fell in love with Provence and its wines, notably the legendary Bandols of Domaine Tempier, which he began importing in 1977. He later began living in the area part-time, returning frequently between tasting trips, and today he spends most of his time at his home just outside of Bandol.

Provence is thought to be France’s most ancient wine region, established when Greek settlers landed in the modern-day port city of Marseille in the 6th century BC. The conditions here are ideal for cultivation of the grapevine, with a hot, dry climate and a prevalence of poor, rocky soils, primarily limestone-based, suitable for vines and not much else. The ever-present southern sunshine as well as the mistral, a cold, drying wind from the northwest that helps keep the vines free of disease, are crucial elements of Provençal terroir. Wild herbs from the pervasive scrubland, called garrigue, and cooling saline breezes from the Mediterranean also contribute to the quality and character of wines in all three colors.

Provence is well known for its rosés, but red wines have always held importance here. The very best, such as those from Bandol, possess great depth and a capacity for long-term aging. The white wines, notably those of Cassis, offer weight balanced by a maritime freshness, making them ideal pairings for the local seafood. Mourvèdre reigns king for red grapes, supported mainly by Grenache and Cinsault, while Clairette, Marsanne, Rolle, and Ugni Blanc are the region’s principal white grapes.

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Where the newsletter started

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

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