I will always admit, I'm partial to the wines of Sylvain Fadat and Domaine d'Aupilhac, his small winery in the town of Montpeyroux. While Sylvain makes some super approachable, early drinking wines, like the high quality, value priced Lou Maset red, the wine that now defines Sylvain comes from his 20 year old vineyard, Cocalieres, the same vineyard I was married in (and to) back in 2007.
Cocalieres is a magical spot for me, as much as it is for Sylvain. Going back over 20 years I remember the boyish excitement in Sylvain's voice when he told me he had purchased the vineyard a few kilometers outside of Montpeyroux. Over the next few years I watched him clear the rocks and boulders that had taken residence there, plant his first vines and then in 2001 make his first, and single barrel that year, a wine that rests in my cellar to this day. Over time the vineyard has matured nicely, allowing Sylvain to make a delightful and very serious white wine, as well as a incredibly decadent red.
Each year brings a very different crop, and while the blend is Grenache 30%, Syrah 40%, Mourvèdre 30%, the difference from year to year is what makes Cocalieres so enticing. Over the past week I've opened the 2007 and 2006 and the two wines couldn't be any more different.
The 2007 is a soft, silky, almost Burgundian bodied red that reminds me more of a Chateauneuf du Pape than any wine Sylvain has ever made. The wine is very feminine, with a very curvy, sexy appeal. The telltale Garrigue aromas of sage and rosemary tickle your nose, while the fruit, which is full of rich blackberry, black raspberry and blueberries lingers across the palate.
The 2006 is totally different. It's a big, brawny, masculine red. Some may describe it as a hedonistic thrill ride, as the broad shouldered, muscular wine makes me think it's more like a Rasteau wine in body as it's got a lot more palate weight than the 07, while throwing off different Garrigue aromas of mulberry, oregano and thyme. Flavors of black plums, strawberries, blueberries are obvious, as the wine compliments a bone in rib-eye so well.
The 2014 and 2013 Cocalieres are both in distribution in the USA, and are worth seeking out.