2018 Domaine les Semelles de Vent Châteauneuf du Pape

$60

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The nose is full of black berry fruit, blueberry, licorice and a drift of violet. It has a good, streamlined opening. The palate rolls with gliding content and has a steady build-up of intensity in its cassis and black fruit that is layered with tannins. There’s a neat definition in its fruit. This is in good shape, and will develop even more with a few years in the bottle.

Organic Farming Practices. 

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Domaine Les Semelles de Vent
Domaine Les Semelles de Vent2
Domaine Les Semelles de Vent1

Domaine Les Semelles de Vent | Rhône Valley, France

Domaine les Semelles de Vent is run by Christophe Galon and his wife YuYen. While owner Christophe Galon has been growing grapes on his family’s land for 25 years in Vacqueyras, it was only in 2009 that he took the leap and left the co-operative to venture out on his own. Along with being a winemaker, Christophe is also an artist; he creates all the drawings that go on to each of their beautiful wine labels.

His wines are made very traditionally, fermentation in concrete tanks then aging in old oak. The Grenache vines here are all over 60 years old, and the Syrah and Mourvèdre more than 40. The wines are bottled un-fined and unfiltered and are of outstanding quality. The house style is for very pure fruit and gentle extractions. Their Châteauneuf is extremely unique, being made from 100% Mourvèdre.

The largest part of the domaine’s Gigondas vineyard is located on the northern and western hill slopes of the Dentelles de Montmirail mountains just above the village of Gigondas. The average level of the parcels is 350 meters high. These parcels organised in terrasses are surrounded by mediterrannean forest like an islet in the middle of the wild vegetation. This particular location promotes the natural exchange between the different plants and the grapes. The soil made with blue and grey marns brings the sweet spices notes (cinnamon, cloves) into the wines.

The domaine owns just one parcel located near the Châteauneuf du Pape village area planted with 40 year old Mourvèdre grape variety. The forest and garrigue are laying on three sides. The soil consists of sandstone and rolled pebbles.The austerity of the young wines is balanced by the deep fineness of the aromas of musk, leather and black fruits.

There are different small parcels located all over the appellation Vacqueyras conferring a large diversity of soils. Nearly half of the vineyard is more than 60 years old. The oldest parcel was planted in 1920. The cuvée “Vieilles Vignes” is from the parcels with clay and stones giving some spicy notes as white pepper and fruity notes as cherry and morello.

 

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Rhône Valley, France

For ease of describing the Rhône Valley, we will associate the region by two distinct areas: The Northern Rhône and the Southern Rhône. The Northern Rhône, follows the River Rhône essentially from Vienne in the north down to Valence in the south. Many of their vineyards are planted on slopes situated next to the river as the valley is quite narrow and steep. There is a cold strong wind in this area, called the mistral, which can quickly damage the vines, so the valley serves as protection. The black grape variety, Syrah, dominates in the Northern Rhône. In fact, in many of the smaller appellations and crus, it is the only black grape variety allowed and produced. These wines tend to be a deep color and boast bold black fruit flavors with black pepper and florals. There are a few areas that allow for production of the white grape varieties: Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne. Particularly, Condrieu and Château-Grillet appellations have a reputation for high-quality Viognier. The noteworthy crus of Northern Rhône  for red wine include (but not limited to) Côte-Rôtie, Saint-Joseph, Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, and Cornas. 

To the south and closer to the Mediterranean Sea lies the much larger region of the Southern Rhône. With greater vineyard areas, the Southern Rhône is focused on predominantly red wine, but showcasing a vast range of red, white, and rosé wines from high-quality to inexpensive. Here the climate is considerably more warmer than in the north and the vineyards are on flatter terrain. The mistral winds are still of concern, so many of the vines are trained low to the ground for protection. To absorb some of the heat, many of the best vineyard sites have very stony soils. Particularly, in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the stones (or galets) are large and completely cover the soil surface. Black grape varieties Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault do best in this warm, sunny climate. Hence why you often see the term “GSM” Blend (meaning Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre) coined from this region, which many other regions have now adopted and use for their blends using these grape varietals. While white grape varieties are a minority to this region, Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, and Bourboulenc are grown here. Notable cru areas are Tavel, Lirac, Gigondas, Vacqueyras, and the infamous, Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Generic appellations of Côte du Rhône and Côte du Rhône Villages account for more than half of the entire production with the Southern Rhône, but don’t let the generic term fool you; These appellations, although not cru status, are also putting out some spectacular quality wines! 

The domaine owns just one parcel located near the Châteauneuf du Pape village area planted with only 40 years old mourvèdre grape variety. The forest and garrigue are laying on three sides. The soil consists of sandstone and rolled pebbles.The austerity of the young wines is balanced by the deep fineness of the aromas of musk, leather and black fruits. 

 

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