Friday Feature – February 12, 2010

Hello and Happy Friday!

This week in my tastings, I tried a wine that was up to my strict criteria.

Tardieu–Laurent is an excellent producer focusing on wines from throughout the Rhône Valley of France. Their ‘04 Rasteau “Vieilles Vignes” is a wine that is at its peak, and will be enjoyed by anyone who gravitates toward wine from this part of France.



If you are unfamiliar with wines from the Southern Rhône Valley of France other than Châteauneuf–du–Pape, you have been missing out on the great wines from one of the Côtes du Rhône–Villages appellations called Rasteau. This is Grenache country, as many south facing slopes make for a warm micro–climate that this grape just loves.

Tardieu–Laurent is a négociant, meaning a company that purchases grapes from small growers and then bottles them under their own label. To some in the wine world this is a dirty word, but the fact is négociants can produce world class wine, just as a single estate producer.

In fact Tardieu–Laurent is certainly one of the most high quality producers in all of France with a concentration on the wines of the Rhône Valley. They purchase fruit from top growers in the appellation and then work hard to maintain the character and quality of where it comes from.

The 2004 Rasteau “Vieilles Vignes” as the name implies is composed of 80% Grenache from 80+ year-old vines. The remainder of the blend is Syrah and Mourvèdre. Old and new oak is used in its aging, but it is seamlessly integrated into the wine.

This is a terrific vintage for this wine, and it is drinking perfectly right now. Full of bright but dark cherry fruit, hints of red licorice, pepper and herb notes. Fantastically rich and heady, but still pure, balanced and easy to drink.


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