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2016 Les Baux de Provence Rouge “Cornaline”

Domaine Hauvette
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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

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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

Provence

map of Provence

Perhaps there is no region more closely aligned with the history to Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant than Provence. Provence is where Richard Olney, an American ex-pat and friend of Alice Waters, lived, and introduced Kermit to the great producers of Provence, most importantly Domaine Tempier of Bandol. Kermit also spends upwards of half his year at his home in a small town just outside of Bandol.

Vitis vinifera first arrived in France via Provence, landing in the modern day port city of Marseille in the 6th century BC. The influence of terroir on Provençal wines goes well beyond soil types. The herbs from the pervasive scrubland, often referred to as garrigue, as well as the mistral—a cold, drying wind from the northwest that helps keep the vines free of disease—play a significant role in the final quality of the grapes. Two more elements—the seemingly ever-present sun and cooling saline breezes from the Mediterranean—lend their hand in creating a long growing season that result in grapes that are ripe but with good acidity.

Rosé is arguably the most well known type of wine from Provence, but the red wines, particularly from Bandol, possess a great depth of character and ability to age. The white wines of Cassis and Bandol offer complexity and ideal pairings for the sea-influenced cuisine. Mourvèdre reigns king for red grapes, and similar to the Languedoc and Rhône, Grenache, Cinsault, Marsanne, Clairette, Rolle, Ugni Blanc among many other grape varieties are planted.

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Kermit inspecting wine barrels

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.

Discount Eligible $69.00
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