2016 Vouvray “Le Portail”Champalou
France | Loire
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I often reminisce about old bottles of Côte-Rôtie from my father’s cellar. These wines have always inspired fascination: powerful yet fresh and ethereal, they feature never-ending aromas of eucalyptus, menthol, game, leather, violets, spice . . . an exotic, earthy bouquet expressed with subtlety and grace. Sadly, these prized bottles have dwindled with each cork pulled, as traditionalist vignerons on the unforgiving Roasted Slope have proven elusive. Domaine Faury represents a rare exception, and I envision this Côte-Rôtie following a similar evolution to the wines I contemplate with nostalgia. Its depth on the palate, along with the already revealing perfume, suggests a Côte-Rôtie of the old school, to drink over the next decade and a half.
|Blend:||90% Syrah, 10% Viognier|
|Vineyard:||Planted between 1993 and 2008|
|Aging:||Aged for 18 months in oak demi-muids (600-L) and barrels (220-L), of which 30% are new|
Along the steep, narrow valley that traces the northern Rhône, the appellations of Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu and Saint-Joseph take their place among the great wines of France, and Domaine Faury is one of the region’s most artisanal producers. When Philippe Faury took over the domaine in 1979, the family was selling wine, peaches and cherries, and the bulk of their clientele was local. Over the years, Philippe increased their holdings to over 11 hectares and began to sell internationally. He shared his savoir faire with his son, Lionel. Since 2006, Lionel has taken over the reins, though father and son still work side by side. Every method they use encourages the grape towards greatness with the ultimate respect for its fragility.
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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