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Gang of Rhônes

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Daumen is a fairly new line of négociant wines from southern Rhône producer Domaine de la Vieille Julienne. The handsome labels (Côtes-du-Rhône, Lirac, Gigondas, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Principauté d’Orange) were designed by a Quebec firm.

Côtes-du-Rhône 2010, Daumen ($19.00, 11509857)
Organically farmed Grenache (60%), Syrah (30%) and Mourvèdre (6%). Unlike the label’s Lirac and Gigondas but like the VDP de la principauté d’Orange (an old-vine Cabernet Sauvignon–Merlot blend available as a private import from oenopole), the grapes come from Daumen’s own vineyards. They are also co-planted, so this is a field blend. The grapes were hand-picked, sorted, partially destemmed, fermented in temperature-controlled vats with indigenous yeasts, matured approximately 12 months in concrete vats and neutral 50-hl barrels and bottled unfiltered and unfined. Sulphur is added – and then minimally – only just before bottling. 14% ABV.
Crushed blackberry (fruit and leaves), cherry pit, old wood. Medium-bodied and dry. The fruit is held back, leaving room for dark minerals and black pepper. Freshening acidity and fine if teeth-coating tannins only add to the savour. A kirsch note chimes in on the finish. Food-friendly: a natural for a thyme and garlic-stuffed lamb shoulder of course, but also capable of accompanying a wide range of savoury dishes, including all kinds of grilled meats and vegetables. Hard to beat at the price point, provided you’re not looking for a fruit bomb. (Buy again? Yep.)

By the way, when searching for info on the wine, I noticed another cuvée from Daumen, one I’d not heard about, including from Jean-Paul himself at the MWG tasting he led: Côtes-du-Rhône 2005, La Bosse, Domaine de la Vieille Juilienne ($196.00, 11905930). What’s this? A Côtes-du-Rhône that clocks in at 16.5% and costs more than a magnum of the same estate’s 2004 Châteauneuf-du-Pape?! A query to the agent elicited the following reply: “La Bosse: A micro-parcel (lieu-dit) within the “Clavin” zone, hence CDR, which is a hill that is geologically quite different from the rest of the parcel due to the high amount of sand in the topsoil (not unlike the particularities of the parcel that yields Vieille Julienne’s Réservé in Châteauneuf-du-Pape). Over decades, the estate has noticed a marked difference in the quality of the grenache, and in exceptional vintages, like the 2005 (which is also the 100th anniversary of the domaine) makes small amounts to pay tribute to this unique parcel. CDR in name, but can put a lot of Châteauneufs to shame… 480 bottles produced.” At four bucks shy of $200 a bottle, I doubt I’ll ever taste it but I don’t doubt it’s spectacular. Heads-up, millionaires!

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Written by carswell

June 18, 2013 at 12:04

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