I'll admit, I'm enamoured with the wine of the Ventoux region and have been for many years. A few years back I suggested to Los Angeles' Emporium Thai restaurant owner John Sungkamee that he add Even Bakke's 2012 Clos de Trias Rouge to his small wine list that I helped him assemble. One night, at a WineSiders dinner John brought a bottle of it along. That caused pal Jordan Ogron, owner of Tesse, and its companion wine shop, Boutellier, to take notice and add the wine to his list, with the 2013 release that was very much in line with the 2012 Ventoux red.
Wines of the Ventoux are considered Rhone wines. Nestled at the top of what some would call Northern Provence, to the east of the area known as the Vacluse, a few years back, Doug Margerum made a Rose from the area that defied description. To this day I feel it was the best Rose he ever produced.
The Ventoux region has the mountain and the valley floor. Producers like Bakke and James Wood of Vintur, crank out amazing, undiscovered gems as do the wineries like Martinelle, Domaine Vindemio and Domaine du Fondreche make wines that rival the best in the Southern Rhone, but at reasonable prices (for now.)
Yesterday at a Super Bowl party with friends, I popped open the 2016 Domaine du Fondreche Ventoux Rouge, a typical Rhone blend of 50 % Grenache, 30 % Syrah, 20 % Mourvèdre. This is my kind of wine, much like Doug's M5's precursor, the M3. The larger components of Syrah and Mourvedre gave the wine a very big black raspberry, blackberry, blueberry flavor, while the Grenache added layer upon layer of ripe strawberry and bing cherries.
In many ways when it comes to Rhone wines like the Fondreche, I drift back to my early days of wine drinkng, in the 80s, when the Guigal Cotes du Rhone was my baseline for sub $10.00 Rhones. It still is, even though the price has gone up. But for the upper end of the scale I'm still using Chateauneuf du Pape and Gigondas as the baseline for quality, taste and value.
The Fondreche can easily hold it's own as a dinner wine, in the QPV race as it is a very smooth, supple and fruity red wine that posesses a rich body. It has lingering flavors of fruit and herbs and is a classic example, just like the Guigal, of why I enjoy finding sub $25.00 wines that drink better, and will last a few years in the cellar that many other comparably priced wines that don't have anything like what the Fondreche has to offer.