Arthur’s Cellar Wine Club
Great wine, great people … that pretty much sums up Domaine Palon located just outside the picturesque village of Gigondas in the southern Rhône valley. Jean-Pierre, Annie and their talented winemaker son Sebastien Palon are the marvellous people behind the award-winning, highly acclaimed Domaine Palon Côtes-du-Rhône, Vacqueyras and Gigondas (Annie and Sebastien are pictured at left). Read all about them and their winery in the August 2006 edition of ‘Selections’.
We are presenting three very fine and not to be missed reds from this superb winery: the 2008 Cuvée Esparza Côtes-du-Rhône; the 2007 Vacqueyras, and; the 2007 Gigondas. Each comes in six-bottle cases. Annie has again agreed to create mixed sampler cases of the Vacqueyras and Gigondas in 750 ml. bottle and magnum formats for us.
2008 Cuvée Esparza Côtes-du-Rhône 13.5% Alcohol by Volume
The Palon Côtes-du-Rhône is always very special, but the 2008 vintage is extra special. This is because it has been named in honour of Christian Esparza (at left with Hélène) who championed, with good reason the Domain Palon wines when they were first starting out. He is also our mentor and has done a great deal to help and encourage us with our vinous endeavours. In fact, when we needed a winery to support our agent’s application to the Ontario Alcohol and Gaming Commission, Christian convinced the Palons to place their Ontario distribution fate in the hands of two totally unknown Canucks. He owns and operates a wonderful wine emporium called ‘Inter Caves’ in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and would love to see you if ever you get a chance to visit this little bit of paradise.
2008 was a difficult vintage in most of France. A relatively cool and rainy summer meant a very late harvest and yet many grapes still did not fully ripen. The only way good wine could be produced was through very careful grape selection. This the Palons did, sorting through the grapes on three occasions – expensive but necessary. The result is a very good wine, but at the expense of quantity.
This little gem is comprised of 69% Grenache, 16% Syrah and 15% Cinsault from grapes taken from the domaine’s vineyards in Vacqueyras and Sablet. It is a lovely cherry red colour with glints of violet. On the nose it has nuances of black cherries, red currants, plums, gooseberries and spices. In the mouth, it is fresh and medium-bodied with pleasant tannins and good length. It is a real pleasure to drink now, but you will be rewarded if you put it away for two or three years. This is a very good Côtes-du-Rhône – lighter and more refined than its 2007 counterpart. It will go well with roasts, grilled meat and would be ideal with cheese. Decant a couple of hours in advance and serve slightly below room temperature. Don’t miss this one.