Piaugier “La Grange de Piaugier” Cotes du Rhone 2018
Domaine de Piaugier is one of those little but great French wine discoveries: an everyday wine you don’t find every day.
The terroir of the wine is exceptional, being situated between Gigondas and Sablet at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail. These vines have never seen pesticides or herbicides, having long since learned how to survive in this climate without any additional man-made interference or assistance.. The fruit is harvested by hand at the moment it reaches the optimal balance between freshness and ripe concentration. This philosophy of farming is easy to understand – the best wines are made from the best grapes. Treat Mother Nature appropriately-give her space, give her love, give her respect-and she’ll give you bountiful produce in return.
As such, “wine making” in this case is almost non-existent – these prime grapes are gently pressed, racked into concrete tanks, and allowed to ferment with natural yeast from the vineyards. When finished fermenting, the wine is racked into old casks and left to settle for a year until bottling. There are no additives, preservatives, or other human meddling; this is just grape juice turned into wine-Nature’s way. And what a wine it is:
This kind of wine is why the French drink daily: yes, there are aromas of black currants, red cherries, a touch of nutmeg and hints of Sous Bois. It’s primarily Grenache, which delivers all this upfront aromatic pleasure. But there is also more. Just like in Chateauneuf du Pape this wine is a blend, adding in Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cinsault. The result is complexity across the palate – there is a depth of flavor here to explore, making each glass something different, yet lovingly familiar, like a gorgeous sunset. Again, it’s one of those great daily drinking French wine finds: it doesn’t overwhelm or try to impress. It just tastes darn good and fits with any occasion – whether it may be cocktails by the fire or roast rack of lamb with fava beans and morels in a garlic aioli.
I’ve sold this wine before and I’ve always loved it. I can remember tasting it for the first time and thinking “that’s solid at $19.99”. And then each time I’ve had it, I’ve been blown away by its actual price (see below). The Domaine is small and the importer for this a tough man to get a hold of – we get it occasionally, sometimes not seeing it for years (this is our first offer in three years). Get it while the getting is good because it’s such a beautiful wine.