2017 La Bastide Saint Dominique, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, “Secrets de Pignan,” $59
Winery Info: La Bastide Saint Dominique is located in the heart of the southern Rhône Valley, near Châteauneuf-du-Pape, where they have been producing wines for over 35 years.
The estate was created by Marie-Claude and Gérard Bonnet in a former 16th century chapel but has expanded over the years to include vineyards throughout the region. Their son Eric has worked with them since 1999 and now oversees operations. They farm organically. We put their “Les Hespérides,” a 50/50 blend of Grenache and Mourvèdre, in our September, 2022 club.
Grapes: 100% old vine Grenache, aged 20 months in vat before bottling.
Vineyard: Sourced from north- and south-facing plots in the lieu-dit of Pignan, with soils of sand and red clay.
Flavor Profile: Rich and textured, with complex flavors of dark fruit, licorice, black pepper, and garrigue, typical of older vine fruit. It has power and depth, with good balancing acidity, soft tannins, and a silky finish.
Availability: There is still some left of this vintage.
Drinking Window: It is lovely now, but should continue to develop for another three to five years.
Food Pairing: They suggest pairing it with duck magret with spices and prunes, roasted young pigeons [or perhaps other game birds…] in juniper berry sauce, or poached pears in spicy wine.
2021 Les Crêtes, Petite Arvine, $37
Winery Info: In the mid 1700’s, the Charrère family, originally from France, moved to Italy’s northwestern Valle d’Aosta. Situated in an alpine valley surrounded by the Italian, French, and Swiss Alps, it is the smallest wine region in the country, with some of the highest elevation vineyards in Europe. The Charrères were farmers, but they didn’t plant their first grapes until 1955, with a focus on the indigenous varieties of the region. In 1989 they established Les Crêtes, which remains one of only a few commercial wineries in the region.
Grapes: 100% Petite Arvine, an indigenous white grape found almost exclusively in the Valais, in the Swiss Alps, and to a lesser extent, in Italy’s Aosta Valley. This one sees no oak, but is aged on the lees for up to two months, with continual batônnage (lees stirring).
Vineyard: Champorrette and Bufferia, in Aymavilles (AO) and Frissonnière, in Saint Christophe (AO). The soils are a mix of limestone and loose, sandy moraine, at an elevation of 1,800 to 2,130 feet.
Flavor Profile: This wine is mountain fresh, with pretty floral aromas, notes of citrus, and a touch of sea salt. It has rich texture, with complex, savory flavors, food-friendly acidity, and great minerality. We don’t see a lot of Petite Arvine in this country, and this is a wonderful example.
Availability: We got all that was left of this vintage.
Drinking Window: Enjoy anytime over the next year or two.
Food Pairing: Perfect for charcuterie, seafood (perhaps pan-seared white fish with lemon and capers), Carpaccio, or dishes with lemony or buttery preparations.