Domaine de la Grange des Pères, VdP de l'Hérault 2007

Domaine de la Grange des Pères, VdP de l'Hérault
VDP l'Hérault
Wine producer
Domaine de la Grange des Pères

120,00 € tax incl.

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Grape(s): Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Mourvèdre

According to Schildknecht: "A saline, alkaline, kelp-, and oyster shell-aura such as one would more usually encounter in a white wine is evident already on the nose of Vaille’s red 2007 Grange des Peres, along with a garrigue-typical evocation of wild fennel and juniper. That said, ripe plum and cassis abound as well, with the tart edge of fruit skin; piquancy of plum pit; and aforementioned mineral and herbal elements collaborating on an impressively rich yet brightly juicy and vibrantly interactive performance that practically bursts forth in a sustained and palate-staining finish of invigoration as well as saliva-inducing savor. (I would have sworn, blind, that this must be the 2008!) The mineral dimension is so distinctive and assertive that this wine is bound not to be everybody’s cup of Languedoc red. I predict it will be exciting to follow for at least the next dozen years.

During my balmy mid-April visit, Laurent Vaille reminded me that his low-lying vineyards were still at risk of frost due to their tendency to collect cold air coming off of the nearby mountains and funneling through the Gorges de l’Herault; and that, for the same reason, he experienced wide diurnal swings and welcome cool nights even during the critical ripening weeks of 2009. Here is an address where the early promise of 2007 has been fully redeemed in the bottle; in particular, the red displays the sort of energy, minerality, and focus that in many wines of this vintage has at least temporarily gone into remission. The 2008s – “a great vintage for aging in both red and white,” in Vaille’s words, and which will not be released until late this year – had been bottled for only a month when I tasted them. The wines of neither vintage finished malo until well after the return of warm weather – tardy by Languedoc standards, but not uncommon at this address. “I had to rack the 2008s twice just to rid them of CO2,” reports Vaille. The predominant impression of 2009 in red from barrel is one of confitured fruit, at times allied to heady florality such as one would more likely associate with the estate’s white. At least one barrel of Syrah – subsequently marked for culling – displayed a suspicious degree of precocious gaminess and downright funk. I predict that the finished 2009 red blend – as always, of Syrah, Mourvedre, and a lesser amount of Cabernet Sauvignon – is going to make one think it must include some very ripe Grenache! Most barrels of 2010 red had settled down to the point where their enticing ripeness, bright fruit and fine-grained but dense structure could be admired. In the end, Vaille notes, 2008 and 2010 were picked at sugar and pH levels nearly as high as those of 2009, albeit with a greater preservation of freshness and elegance in the resultant wines. And frankly, even when tasting individual lots (particularly of Mourvedre) at this address that exceed 15% alcohol, that level is scarcely noticeable as heat, much less roughness. The September 2010 rain, Vaille claims, not only kick-started the final spurt in maturation in his inherently late-ripening cepages, but even did him a favor by slightly diluting the juice in a small crop whose sugar accretion had overtaken its phenolic evolution. This is a vintage especially marked by the sort of cool nights of which he spoke, and the first-ever in which he did not harvest until October. “But we came within two degrees of losing the foliage to frost already on the 20th of September,” he adds. RP 94pts.

Maturity: Now-2030