The last time we saw Anne Charlotte Bachas, co-owner of Chateau Font du Loup, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, just about a year ago, she was in town to promote her wines with AHD Vintners, who import and distribute them locally. We had a delightful time with Anne Charlotte, and loved the wines, so when I heard that she was returning to Day-twah with husband Laurent, I made a point of keeping my schedule open to attend the tasting at Cork Wine Pub, in Pleasant Ridge. Like his wife, Laurent is very friendly and easygoing, and despite his protestations to the contrary, his English is more than adequate for conveying information about his wines and vineyards; frankly, I wish I spoke French half as well.
AHD poured their entire Rhone lineup on this occasion, but I didn’t taste everything. I started out with a charming rose, and then moved right on to the Font du Loups. (Price ranges listed reflect standard retail markup of both post off (sale) and front line wholesale costs.) CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE
2009 Domaine Maby “Prima Donna” Tavel Rosé, $15.99-17.99: Raspberry pink, with an effusively fruit-laden nose of perfumed strawberry and raspberry that follows through on the palate, where it gains a nice minerality. Medium bodied and then some, with very good intensity and acids. Solid and satisfying. Find this wine
2008 Chateau Font du Loup Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, $41.99-59.99: Clean, medium color, with stony mineral, white tree fruit and rainwater flavors and aromas; excellent acids and intensity, with good length. If anything, this is even better than when we tasted it last year, and promises to deliver all the goods for some years yet. Find this wine
2008 Chateau Font du Loup Châteauneuf-du-Pape, $NA (not yet released in the US): Lighter in style, with clean, medium-dark color; pretty red and black berry and plum notes, with earth and iron playing counterpoint. Medium-full bodied, with good structure and length, this is a solid early drinker, but it’ll stand a few years in the cellar as well. Find this wine
2006 Chateau Font du Loup Châteauneuf-du-Pape, $34.99-40.99: Clean, dark color; rich and expressive fruit, with lots of earth and iron and subtle leather in support. Full bodied, with excellent structure; nice now, and with plenty of promise for further development. Find this wine
2007 Chateau Font du Loup Châteauneuf-du-Pape, $34.99-40.99: Clean, dark color, with earth, leather and iron over red and black plum and berry. Excellent structure and intensity, and like the ’06, it’s more than approachable now, but will also benefit from some years in the cellar. Find this wine
2001 Chateau Font du Loup Châteauneuf-du-Pape, $48.99-55.99: Laurent characterizes this clean, dark colored beauty as “old, but fresh,” and he has a good point; it shows nice maturity, while retaining a rich core of ripe fruit, offering leather, earth, iron, plum and berry. Full bodied and still well structured, but drinking so well right now. I love this one! Find this wine
Despite the fact that Laurent and Anne Charlotte strive for freshness and elegance in the wines that they produce, the 2001 model demonstrates that they are very cellar-worthy as well, and indeed, any of these could be tagged “drink or hold.”
As previously reported, the single vineyard “Le Puy Rolland” is made from 100% Grenache; the vines are 100 years old.
2006 Chateau Font du Loup Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Le Puy Rolland,” $41.99-48.99: Clean, dark color, with a beautiful perfume of floral berry and plum that gains nice earth and mineral undertones on the palate; full bodied, with a smooth texture that belies its ample structure. Delicious! Find this wine
2007 Chateau Font du Loup Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Le Puy Rolland,” $41.99-48.99: Clean, dark color; more earthy than the ’06, yet still full of rich, lovely dark plum and berry at its full bodied core, with hints of chocolate, licorice and violets. Excellent structure and good length; this should improve nicely with some years in the cellar, if you can keep your hands off now. Find this wine
While I am mostly familiar with AHD’s Rhône portfolio, there were a few things on hand that I had yet to try, so I also took pours of the following for consideration.
2008 Domaine des Haut Chassis Crozes-Hermitage, $20.99-23.99: Clean, dark garnet color, with flavors and aromas dominated by garrigue and licorice; slightly astringent on the palate, with a deep core of earthy dark plum. Full bodied, with good structure and length, this is a fine young Syrah that will improve with a few years in the cellar. Find this wine
2009 Domaine du Grand Prieur Vacqueyras, $18.99-20.99: Deep, dark color; briar-bramble dominates the very “sticksy” nose, with more of the same over a solid core of earthy black plum and berry, accented with a note of licorice. Full bodied, very well structured, and while approachable, patience will reward. Find this wine
2008 Domaine des Lises Equis Crozes-Hermitage, $27.99-31.99: Made by Alain Graillot’s son Maxime, this clean, purple garnet colored Syrah saw some oak, and while it’s noticeable, it’s not excessive. Undertones or earth and garrigue grace nice ripe black plum and berry. Full bodied and slightly astringent, with good structure and length, this is nice now and will be even better a few years down the road. Find this wine
2007 Domaine des Pasquiers Côtes du Rhône Villages Sablet, $15.99-18.99: Clean, dark color, with earthy, tarry black plum and berry flavors and aromas underscored with that “sticksy” quality. Big, chewy and structured for several years in the cellar, which will serve it well. This is what Kim refers to as “dogshit French wine,” and she means that in a good way. Find this wine
2009 Mas du Bouquet Vacqueyras, $18.99-20.99: Clean, dark color, with violets and red plum and berry on the nose, all of which follow through on the palate, where they gain a nice earthy anchor. Full bodied, well structured and drinking very well, this is a great selection for Red Wings & Red Rhones! Find this wine
As always, it was an excellent presentation by the good folks at AHD, and Cork Wine Pub continues to set the tone for excellence among area wine-centric establishments. It was especially nice to meet Laurent and to chat with Anne Charlotte again, and did I mention that I love their wines?
Reporting from Day-twah,