Chateau Vignelaure Provence Rouge 2008



The more I explore Provence, the more I find that some very early pioneers there didn’t set out merely to remake the region, but instead to perfectly situate their vineyards to produce world-class wines.

My mind immediately calls forth three – Mas Dumas Gassac, “the Latour of Provence” – Robert Parker; Domaine de Trevallon, “one of France’s greatest wines” – Ian Cauble; and Grange de Peres, “everything a cult wine should be” – Decanter. The amazing thing I just found out is what do all three of these have in common? They were all inspired by Chateau Vignelaure!

While vines have been planted at Vignelaure for over 2,000 years; it got its modern start when Georges Brunet, owner of Chateau La Lagune in the Haut Medoc, replanted Cabernet at the site. Not wanting to be confused with a Medoc appellation, he renamed it Vignelaure, the vine of Laure, muse of the poet Petrach. This is actually the start of the rebirth of Cabernet, and quality winemaking as a whole, in Provence. It is also the start of blending Syrah with Cabernet in the region, the Grand Cru blend of all of the star-studded wines listed above (all of which either got their vine cuttings from Vignelaure, or worked there as a winemaker, or both).

So why have I not heard of this tremendous beauty of a wine before? Well, I am guessing that unlike these other wineries, it did not stay in the founding family’s hands. And, in fact, there was a series of owners from 1986 to 2007. While those vintages still exist, I have not had a chance to taste them. However, what we have today is the Grand Vin from 2008, when the new owners Mette and Bengt Sundstrom took over the property.

At 13 years old, this wine is just a stunner – aromas of peppered blackberries, touches of garrigue and white truffle, cherry tobacco and black raspberries emanate from the glass. The palate is detailed and seductive, with no lack of vibrancy or freshness (or for character in any direction, for that matter). In fact, it tastes like mature Bordeaux, right at the entrance to plump middle age. And that about sums it up!

Actually, one more thing. Just imagine to yourself the price of second growth Bordeaux drinking great in the middle of its second decade. Now scroll down and take a look at this price. I promise you, the only reason this wine isn’t at those second growth Bordeaux prices is because it’s just not that well known. Take advantage and enjoy!

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