On my first day of deep diving educational training, after a delightful lunch in Beaumes de Venise I ventured up to the hillside town of Suzette to try wines from three producers. Of the three, Charles Redortier, Domaine Saint Amant and La Ferme Saint-Martin, the latter two were standouts, while Redortier showed me some wines that are perfectly rustic and old school in style.
Domaine Saint Amant
The two 2015 whites from Domaine Saint Amant are strikingly different. And while different, the La Borry, a 95 percent Viognier, with the rest Roussanne is a perennial wine to have for 3-5 years of drinking. The 2015 follows on the very tasty 2014 and showed me that white Rhone's have a place at anyone's table. The La Tabardonne doubles the amount of Roussanne compared to the Le Borry. It's 10 percent Roussanne with 95% Viognier. As someone who digs well made Roussanne blended in to a wine, this is one to seek out.
So while the white wines of Domaine Saint Amant are attention getting, it's the reds that really capture my heart. Their Les Clapas 2014 is the entry level red that carries the Cotes du Rhone appellation. It's a nice blend of 50% Syrah and 50% Grenache. But the show stopper is the 2014 Grangeneuve which is made from 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Carignan and 10 % Viognier.
Talk about a wine of intrigue and mystery, as you don't normally see a white grape blended that often with reds, except in Cote Rotie and sometimes in Chateauneuf du Pape, the Grangeneuve is an inky, dark purple wine, with exceptional body and length. It's silky, slinky and so nice to taste.
La Ferme Saint-Martin
An all organic/natural winery, that is also bio-dynamique, La Ferme Saint-Martin produces wines that carry either the Beaumes de Venise, Cotes du Rhone of Ventoux appellation designation. Their 2015 Rose d'Entrevon made from Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah is light, lively and fruit forward. Unlike Provence Rose's this wine has a bit more body and depth, and is in line with what one sees from producers in Tavel. The 2015 Les Terres Jaunes is a stunning 80% Grenache, 20% Syrah red with great balance and finesse. The Saint Martin, which is more Grenache and less Syrah, 85/15 % comes from older vines and is more complex on the palate. The Costancia, which is 50% Syrah and 50% Grenache is more new world in style, reminding me of Australian blends more than the Rhone...
The wines from Charles Rordortier are made from vineyards that are as old as any in the Beaumes de Vinise AOC. They're made in an old world charming way. These are rustic wines, with character and style. The winery makes a cross section of Beaumes de Venise, Cotes du Rhone and Gigondas wines. They are well made, thoughtfully produced and fine examples of moderation during production, vs. trying to hard to change things.
And that was Day One....