2017 Domaine de la Charbonnière, Les Hautes Brusquières, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, $70
Winery Info: This Châteauneuf-du-Pape estate has been run by the Maret family ever since Eugène Maret purchased it as a gift for his wife in 1912.
Today, in addition to holdings in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, they have vineyards in Vacqueyras and Côtes-du-Rhône, including some of the region’s most sought after sites. When fourth-generation Véronique Maret, still in her 30s, took over the winemaking in 2012, she updated the winery and transitioned to organic viticulture. Under her skillful direction, the estate has seen a steady gain in recognition and respect for their wines, widely acclaimed for their deft combination of elegance and depth.
Grapes: 60% Grenache, 39% Syrah, and 1% Counoise, sourced from a site on the Brusquières plateau, in the northern part of the appellation, with “galets” cobblestones over red clay soil. Aged in a mix of large oak vats, demi-muids, and barrels.
Flavor Profile: This wine, atypical in its high percentage of Syrah, is powerful, concentrated, and fresh, with savory aromas of dark fruit, spice, and brambly garrigue, and hints of raspberry and crushed black pepper. Its depth and structure are nicely balanced by its elegance and finesse.
Availability: This vintage is still in relatively decent supply.
Drinking Window: If drinking soon, decant, or give it a bit of time to open up. Or you could cellar it up to 2028 or so.
Food Pairing: This would pair well with lamb, cassoulet, barbecued meats, roasts, or anything with a hint of smoke.
2018 Jermann, Pinot Grigio, $28
Winery Info: Anton Jermann, originally from the Austrian wine region of Burgenland, relocated to Farra d’Isonzo in Italy’s northeastern Friuli-Venezia Giulia region in 1881, where he established a winery. His great grandson Silvio Jermann has been leading the winery since 1970 and has transformed his family’s modest estate into a winery “synonymous with absolute quality, tradition and promotion of the area,” according to Gambero Rosso, the most authoritative wine guide in Italy. In fact, Silvio has been hailed as the best producer of Italian white wines in the world. While Pinot Grigio (aka Pinot Gris) is a popular grape and produced in many regions throughout the world, it is rare to find one of this caliber.
Grapes: 100% Pinot Grigio, from vines averaging 25 years in age. Aged six months on lees in stainless steel.
Vineyard: A site at 150 to 200 feet in elevation with marl, sandstone soil (known locally as “Ponca”).
Flavor Profile: Rich, aromatic, and bright, with lovely flavors of orchard fruit (apple and pear) and fresh notes of citrus and honey. It is wonderfully smooth and balanced, with good minerality and a long finish.
Availability: This wine is in good supply at the moment.
Drinking Window: Enjoy now or over the next three to five years.
Food Pairing: The winery suggests fish soups, char-grilled seafood, dishes with seasonal mushrooms, or “squid ink lasagnette pasta and crayfish sauce” (a pairing recommended by Daniele Cernilli, one of the founders of Gambero Rosso).