Day three in the Rhône meant a few lesser-known producers to most of you…
Domaine Fayolle Fils & Fille
The brother/sister team of Laurent Fayolle and Céline Nodin operate this small family estate in Gervans, where they produce Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage, and St. Peray. Crozes-Hermitage is a somewhat weird appellation – Originally it was close to the Hermitage hill, stretching to the North, covering a mere 750 acres in Crozes, Largange, Gervans and two other tiny villages where the soils are very similar to Hermitage. Over time the acreage was expanded by a whopping 3800 acres, but in another area, South of Tain- l’Hermitage, on totally different soils. The idea was that more production would make it easier to sell. This worked for the “new” production, but not really for the “old” as production is lower due to the (granite) soils and rather steep hills. This also explains a rather big difference in prices between the two. Fayolle is one of the very few “original gangsta” producers left, as they are focused on making wine from individual vineyards in the original appellation boundaries, most notably on sites known locally as Pontaix and the Clos des Cornirets.
Almost all of Fayolle’s wine is sold within France. We will take what we can get.
Mr. Laurent Fayolle himself
Domaine Fayolle Fils & Fille 2017 St. Peray, 100% Marsanne, some new wood. Fairly unknown, but lovely wine, dry, floral, lots of flavor.
Domaine Fayolle Fils & Fille 2018 Crozes Hermitage Blanc “Pontaix,” (from barrel), bright, citrus, showing well.
Domaine Fayolle Fils & Fille 2018 Hermitage Blanc (from barrel), rich bordering on bombastic but with focus somehow, interesting stuff, can’t wait to see this in bottle.
Domaine Fayolle Fils & Fille 2018 St. Peray Blanc (from barrel), Young, balanced, can’t wait to see this develop as well.
Domaine Fayolle Fils & Fille 2017 Crozes Hermitage “Sens,” entry-level C-H, 30 year vines, including some purchased grapes, some new wood. Dark, fat, tannic, tight, very promising.
Domaine Fayolle Fils & Fille 2016 Crozes Hermitage “Pontaix,” single vyd, 40 year vines, 20% new wood. More elegant, fine, balanced.
Domaine Fayolle Fils & Fille 2017 Crozes Hermitage “Cornirets,” single vineyard, 60 year vines. Just bottled, but showing well, tons of fruit and full.
Domaine Fayolle Fils & Fille 2017 Hermitage, just bottled. Big boy, fat, concentrated, tannic, smokey.
2017 and 2018 are both very good vintages. We also like 2016 but note that wines from this vintage are different in style from the others, a little lighter and more elegant.
Crous St. Martin
The brother/sister duo of Eric and Veronique Bonnet led us through a packed lineup of new and upcoming releases at their home base of Domaine La Bastide Saint Dominique. The property sits smack dab in one of the best sections of Chateauneuf-du-Pape – Even as little kids they knew they were in a prime zone for Grenache, if they ran outside to play and veered right they were at Beaucastel and if they veered left a few hundred meters they ended up at Clos du Caillou! There are three things you’ll see coming out of this property, Domaine La Bastide Saint Dominique, the production of which consists of wines made from grapes on the estate, Reserve Saint Dominique which is a second label made from younger vines and some purchased fruit, and Crous St. Martin which consists of both estate and purchased fruit and is a collaboration between Eric Bonnet and our good friend Harry Bosmans. We are ordering our first shipments of Domaine and Reserve St. Dominique this month, and you can expect more information on that front (with more background, tasting notes, etc) closer to arrival (the final lineup of available states is still coming together). Let’s just say that there will be some excitement.
The lovely Eric and Veronique Bonnet!
While availability is pretty tiny, Crous St. Martin’s Cotes du Rhone is worth a mention here – The grapes come from the same spot that Beaucastel makes their Coudoulet from, a zone in the northern part of Chateauneuf du Pape just outside the official appellation boundary, as there weren’t vines in this area when the appellation was originally classified. The Rasteau was just outstanding – Rasteau is the only appellation in the Rhone where grey clay and brown clay both coexist at the root level, this results in a forward wine with violet pastille aromatics that you must experience firsthand…with that in mind I suppose we will import as much as we can get!
Crous St. Martin 17 Cotes du Rhone, full, rich solid.
Crous St. Martin 17 Rasteau, concentrated, big, outstanding.
Crous St. Martin 17 Gigondas, dark, big, fat, a little rustic
Crous St. Martin 17 CHN, typical, concentrated, well made
Crous St. Martin 16 Cairanne, typical, if a little lean. From the last plot of Cairanne on the Rasteau border, high proportion of Mourvedre
Crous St. Martin 16 Lirac, easy, tannic
Overall, very nice set of wines. Again, stay tuned for an announcement on the Domaine La Bastide St Dominique and Reserve St. Dominique wines.
Madame Carichon led us through a quick lineup at this perennial, rustic favorite in Vacqueyras. Have a virtual tour of the property right here to get a better feel
. Total holdings include 198 acres of vines spread between Vacqueyras, Cairanne, Ventoux, Gigondas, and Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Stylistically, winemaking veers towards the traditional spectrum here, where no wood is used other than in their Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Farming is natural.
Domaine Brunely 18 Vacquyeras Blanc (tank), Musky, tropical, big.
Domaine Brunely 18 Ventoux Rouge, spicy thanks to Syrah base, one hell of a wild Ventoux
Domaine Brunely 17 Ventoux Rouge,, similar to 18 but with tannin
Domaine Brunely 18 Cotes du Rhone Villages, mineral loaded, outstanding
Domaine Brunely 18 Cairanne, simple, a bit closed
Domaine Brunely 17 Vacqueyras Rouge, full rich attack, black fruit, power, length, nice square tannin
Domaine Brunely 18 Vacqueyras Rouge, closed, less intensity than the 2017
Domaine Brunely 17 Vacqueyras “Tour Aix Cailles,” Syrah and old vine Mourvedre make for “big everything,” dense without being syrupy, BRAVO
Domaine Brunely 17 Gigondas Rouge, fleshy, mineral
Domaine Brunely 17 Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge, closed
Domaine Brunely 18 Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge, deeper than the 17, slightly reductive now, huge tannin