Awards: 2016 90 points - Wine Spectator
This blend of classic Rhone varieties, Grenache and Syrah, is beautiful on the nose with dark berry fruit and spice aromas, framed by classic Provence notes of rosemary, thyme and sage. A rich palate is underscored by soft, round tannins.
2016 was an excellent vintage, though not quite as hot and ripe as 2015. Thanks to a cooler fall, it allowed for more balance, which is something we were quite happy about. The milder growing season and lighter extraction during fermentation delivers a silkier structure and more approachable wine in its youth.
All the fruit comes from Valréas, which is distinctive for two reasons. It’s hilly location on the east side of the Rhône, which means much cooler nights and gentler ripening relative to the valley floor. It’s also the traditional breaking point in the Rhône where you see a shift to more Syrah than Grenache. Grenache is more heat loving than Syrah, and Valréas generally marks where it was potentially too cool to ripen Grenache properly, which was very much the case. Over the last decade, particularly the relatively warm vintages have been a godsend to Valréas, as now it’s ripening beautifully and slowly, meaning loads of flavor and developed structure without over the top alcohol. This is really what drew us into Valréas, as so much of the southern Rhône, particularly on the valley floors, has become incredibly hot. Most of the vineyards are North and West facing, therefore they don’t get overly sunbaked. The fermentations were 100% in concrete and done with native yeast. Some of the Syrah lots were fermented with stems to add some spice and savory notes. The fermentations were ultra-slow, taking on average 30 days on the skins. A small percentage of the wine, about 6%, was aged in new French oak. The resulting wine is beautiful on the nose with dark berry fruit and spice, along with classic Provence garrigue notes (rosemary, thyme, sage), and a broad, rich palate. Tannins are soft, round and inviting.
The blend is: 60% Grenache, 40% Syrah. 100% of the fruit is from vineyards owned and farmed by the Lavau family in the Village of Valréas in the Southern Rhône Valley. As such, the wine can be called Côtes du Rhône Villages, as opposed to simply Côtes du Rhône.
Wine chemistry is: ALC BY VOL 14.5%, RS .4%. 10,000 cases imported to the U.S.
While we’ve been making rosé under Bieler Père et Fils since 2005, this is our first vintage to produce and bottle a red wine. For years we have wanted to make a red wine to go along with our rosé, but couldn’t find the right vineyards and facility to produce it in our preferred style and price. That is, until we met the Lavau brothers, who generously offered us fruit from their incredible Valréas vineyards.