Pierre and Jacqueline André

Pierre André, Clos du Joncuas and la Ferme Saint-Martin; Great Traditional Wines from the Southern Rhone! Rhone Dinner at Racines NY, June 9th!

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These three great estates are long-time practitioners of organic and biodynamic farming; Clos du Joncuas has farmed organically since 1920 and has been certified since 1980, Domaine Pierre André has been organic "depuis toujours," certified since 1980 and Biodynamic since 1992, and La Ferme Saint-Martin has been a leader in natural wine-making in the Rhone since the 1980s. Furthermore, Clos du Joncuas and Pierre André have ignored  modern methods, continuing to ferment with whole-clusters and age in large old barrels or cement vats. The resulting wines are tight and a bit asutere when young but age into beautfully complex expressions of Grenache (with a little help from Syrah, Mourvedre and others). While the grapes are de-stemmed at La Ferme Saint-Martin, making the wines a bit more forward, their great farming and natural vinifications give wines that are decidedly different from their conventional neighbors.

The 2010 Pierre André Chateauneuf-du-Pape is a particularly elegant and complex wine that will age beautifully - perhaps showing at it's best between 2025 and 2035. The average age of vines is extremely high, with some reaching 160 years of age. The whole-cluster fermentations take about 30 days, with aging first in old barrels then concrete vats. Grenache comprises 80% of the blend with 10% Syrah along with Mourvedre, Cinsault, Vaccarese, Counoise and Musacadin. Jacqueline André and family have graciouly sent a few bottles of older vintages which we will be sharing at a dinner at Racines NY on June 9th and any lover of traditional Rhone wines should not hestiate to put some of the 2010 into their cellar.

Currently run by sisters Dany and Carole Chastan, the Clos du Joncuas Gigondas vines are on slopes below the Dentelles de Montmirail on soils of clay with dolomite and gypsum over the limestone of the Dentelles and average 40 to 90 years old. The Chastan family tries to hold back wines to release when somewhat mature and we're very happy to have additional quantities of their two 2005 Gigondas. Especially brilliant is the 2005 "Esprit de Grenache" from 60 year-old massale selection vines. Clos du Joncuas also has excellent parcels in neighboring Vacqueyras and Seguret. The Vacqueyras also needs three to five years of aging while the Seguret drinks well young in a more forward but still quite traditional, complex style. Rounding out their production is an oustanding Gigondas Rosé, certainly one of the finest in the Southern Rhone, and a superb Seguret Blanc made from 50% Clairette, with Roussanne and Marsanne.

Guy Julien at La Ferme Saint-Martin has gradually turned over the reins to his very capable and enthusiastic son Thomas, who is doing fabulous work, constantly improving the farming and fine-tuning the vinifications at this fine estate. The top wine here is the Cuvée Saint-Martin, from 100 year-old Grenache vines, with old vines of Syrah - it's a sensational blend of fruit and terroir expression that is delicious young but best at five to ten years of age. Quality here is exceptional throughout the range, including thier superb Rosé and the intriguing white made from Grenache Blanc, Clairette and Roussanne.

While the weather may finally be turing us towards whites and rosés, the reds from these three estates - complex and full of character -  will be perfect complements to grilled foods this summer and we urge you to try them!

 

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Dinner - Southern Rhone Tuesday June 9th 7:00pm Racines NY 94 Chambers St

The André family graciously sent a few precious bottles from their tiny cellar for this dinner honoring the biodynamic vineyard work and natural vinifications at this most traditional of Chateauneuf-du-Pape estates, with importer Philippe Chivee and CSW's Ariana Rolich. We'll start with 2010 and taste 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005 and 1995 as well as their wonderful CDP Blanc 2012. We'll also taste old-school Gigondas from Clos du Joncuas including their superb 2010, two wines from 2005 and their lovely Gigondas Rosé and Seguret Blanc. All this with the sensational cuisine of Racines' Executive Chef Frédéric Duca, a native of Marseille, who will create a special dinner for this event. $145.00 inclusive of tax, tip and wine.

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Pierre André 2010 Châteauneuf-du-Pape

 We consider Domaine Pierre André to be one of the greatest estates in Châteuneuf-du-Pape. Organic since 1980 (one of the first in the AOC) and Biodynamic since 1992. The red is 90% Grenache with Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Vacarese, Counoise, Muscadin and Picpoul. Some parcels are over 100 years old, with the average vine age around 65 years. The 2010 is a tighter and more structured wine than the voluptuous 2009, an elegant Chateauneuf-du-Pape that is built to last! Tasted last winter, it showed aromas of ripe blackberry with spice, earth, tar, smoke and floral notes. Fabulous palate with deep black fruits with spice, garrigue, earth and saline minerals. Terrific length and density, just opening slightly but ideally give this wine at least five more years and enjoy until 2035. Just a great bottle of Châteauneuf,  one of our favorites from this great vintage!  Highly recommended.  David Lillie

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Pierre André 2009 Châteauneuf-du-Pape

2009 Pierre Andre is a triumph of breadth over brawn. Aromas of cedar, cinnamon, cassis and clove on a light caramel cloud. Stately tannins, roundly dispersed, envelope a palate of sweet purple plums, warm blood orange, extra ripe raspberries, and brambly boysenberry with a shake of fresh black pepper.  A sultry puff of cigar smoke follows on the finish. An open bottle of this wine drank beautifully over 9 days with no sign of fatigue... A valedictorian quarterback! 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 8% Mourvedre, 2% Muscardin/ Counoise/ Picpoul/ Vaccarese. Domaine Pierre Andre has been farmed organically since 1980, Biodynamic since 1992. -AR

 

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Pierre Andre 2012 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc

40% Clairette from 90 year-old vines, 30% Bourboulenc, 20% Roussanne, 10% Grenache Blanc. Always organic and  Biodynamic since 1992, Domaine Pierre Andre makes among the very best traditional wines of the Southern Rhone. 100 cases made. Pale gold color, lemon, spice, dried fruits and saline aromas. The palate shows pear, spice and citrus with almond and butter in the very mineral finish. Serve with fish or chicken in white sauce, full-flavored cheeses, will age well, drink until 2030.

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Clos du Joncuas 2005 Gigondas Esprit de Grenache VV

This is Gigondas at its finest! 100% Grenache from old vines, fermented in cement, and aged in large oak vats before being bottled unfined and unfiltered with minimal added sulphur. It gives you that classic Grenache mustiness – like blackberries and blueberries smashed onto the forest floor – but also more fresh and delicate notes of nutmeg and strawberries. Hints of grapefruit peel, vine tomato and pine offer added depth. Given its age, it is still incredibly energetic on the palate with wonderfully resolved tannins and ripe black berry fruit. Truly a complex and delicious wine with a long life ahead of it! Tim Gagnon

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Clos du Joncuas 2005 Gigondas

Gigondas can be a bit of a minefield. It can produce great value wines which express distinctive Southern Rhône terroir, conversely it is the source of many wines which are more expressive of expensive cooperage and ambition. The resolutely old-school Clos du Joncuas produces the former. They farm organically, ferment whole cluster with native yeasts in concrete, then age the wine in large used oak casks. The ripe fruit is balanced by fairly stern tannins when young, without the sheen imbued by new oak. This is Gigondas which benefits from time in the cellar, revealing a rustic elegance.

The 2005 Gigondas is in beautiful place. The rich, plummy, black fruit on the nose is balanced by notes of garrigue, meat, and a hint of coffee. The palate is rich and sappy (though not heavy), with warm, concentrated black fruits, leather, spices, and savory minerality. The tannins are still present, framing the ripeness of the fruit without drying out on the finish. A generous, sunny wine with an underlying sense of earthiness, this should be superb with cassoulet, game, or braised meats. -John McIlwain

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Clos du Joncuas 2010 Gigondas

80% Grenache with Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah, always farmed organically. Whole cluster fermentation in vat with 12 months aging in large old barrels. This a dense old-school Gigondas that needs time. Dark purple/black color, deep blackberry aromas with earth, brown spice, prune and licorice. The palate is deep and dense with blackberry, garrigue, earth and mineral flavors framed in firm tannins and acidity  Long finish of earthy minerals and black fruits. This should be a magnificent Gigondas when mature, best 2025 to 2035. Decant well in advance to drink now. Bravo to the Chastan family for continuing to make wines like this!

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Clos du Joncuas 2010 Vacqueyras La Font de Papier

From 80% Grenache with Syrah and Mourvedre, always farmed organically, fermented and aged in concrete vats. Balckberry liqueur aromas with hints of earth, animal and spice. The palate is deep and round with blackberry, blueberry and earth with firm tannins. Mouth-coating finish of meaty, minty black fruits. Decant or open in advance, best 2018 to 2025. This is a lovely old-fashioned Vacqueyras and a great value!

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Clos du Joncuas 2012 Séguret La Garancière

The estate has been farming organically since the early 1900s, and the wines are made the old-fashioned way with whole-cluster fermentation in neutral oak (with no fining or filtration) which definitely lends a hand to them being fresh, vivid, and pure. The Séguret Village is a dark and meaty wine made from 70% Grenache and 30% Carignan and Mourvèdre. Lots of dark berry fruit reminiscent of cassis and ripe blackberries mingle with deeper notes of orange peel and raw beef. There are also subtle aromas of mint and resin. It is always a pleasure to have a wine so rich and structured, yet young and vibrant at the same time. I highly recommend decanting if you'd like to serve this now alongside heartier fare or, if you have the patience, hold on to it for a few years and enjoy! Tim Gagnon

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Clos du Joncuas 2013 Gigondas Rosé

This is a beautiful Gigondas Rosé from our organic friends at Clos du Joncuas. Pretty bright pink color, aromas of red currant, blood orange, peach skin and rose. Full palate with creamy red fruits and firm acidity. Long finish with tart cherry, peach, earth and citrusy acids. Not a light wine, at 14.5% alcohol, and still young – it should open up nicely over the next two years. It's delicious now and very food-friendly – serve with grilled fish and white meats, salade Nicoise, vegetarian dishes and Provençal foods. Arrives approximately April 22nd.

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Clos du Joncuas 2013 Cotes du Rhone Villages Seguret Blanc

Made from 50% Clairette with Roussanne and Marsanne grown on sandier soils near Gigondas, fermented in cement vat with wild yeasts. Lovely aromas of white fruits, apricot, citrus, almond and stone with floral hints. Balanced full-bodied palate with pear, stone, hay, citrus and spice with firm acidity. A beautiful and versatile Rhone white that will accompany any full-flavored fish dish, goat cheeses, Asian foods, chicken and pork. Sensational value!

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Ferme Saint-Martin 2013 Beaumes-de-Venise Cuvée Saint-Martin

85% Grenache from 60 to 100 year-old vines, 15% Syrah, grown in clay/limestone soils in Suzette. Organic farming, hand-harvested, very low yields, vinified with no additives, aged 50% in foudre 50% in vat. Elegant blackberry/blueberry aromas, quite pretty and floral. The palate is dense, ripe and structured with spicy black fruits that are deep but lifted by fresh acidity, and that continue in the long sappy finish. This is a Southern Rhone red with class and depth that's delicious now, best 2018 - 2023, and it's a fabulous value!

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Ferme Saint-Martin 2012 Beaumes-de-Venise Costancia

From high-altitude vines near Suzette, above Beaumes-de-Venise, 50% Grenache from the 1950s and 50% Syrah planted in 1985, aged in old barrels, bottled unfined and unfltered. Complex aromas of black and red fruits, a hint of blueberry, flowers, brown spice, citrus and earth. Elegant palate with bright acidity underlying the deep black fruits, with licorice, citrus and saline minerals. Perfect with a grilled steak pork or chicken. Drink until 2025.

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Ferme Saint-Martin 2013 Beaumes-de-Venise Terres Jaunes

From parcels of clay/limestone, rich in iron, on hillsides surrounded by woods and hedges, 75% Grenache, 25% Syrah. The 2013 Terres Jaunes shows deep spicy berry fruit aromas, quite complex and pretty. Blackberry, blueberry and boysenberry fruit on the palate, freshened by bright acidity. Quite pretty and balanced with good length, this is a lovely Rhone red to serve cool with grilled foods this summer! The Julien family practices superb organic farming and vinifies naturally with minimal SO2.

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Ferme Saint-Martin 2012 Côtes du Rhône Blanc

This is a delicious, complex Cotes-du-Rhone white from our organic friends Guy and Thomas Jullien at the Ferme-Saint-Martin. From Grenache Blanc, Clairette and Roussanne. Beautiful aromas of citrus, honeysuckle, apricot, tea and brown spice. The palate shows yellow fruit, earth, hay and stone flavors with firm spicy acidity. While not a sweet wine it shows ripeness, weight and complexity - light and crisp and without character it is not! A unique and lovely wine that will accompany Asian foods, chicken, full-flavored fish dishes and cheeses. Fabulous value!

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Ferme Saint-Martin 2014 Côtes du Ventoux Rosé d'Entrevon

A lovely rosé of Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault grown in the Ventoux.  Very pretty peach/raspberry aromas with citrus and spice. Beautiful palate of red-currant, raspberry, peach and brown spice, light but with good density and length. The Ferme Saint-Martin Rosé is always excellent - the 2014 is a light but complex and very pretty wine that is highly recommended, and it's a sensational value! P.S. Drinking beautifully in January of 2016 and will be delicious this coming summer as well...

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