Drink Distinct: Wines & Producers

Courtesy of the Knights Templar - Domaine L’Arnesque’s white Côtes du Rhône

The first time I tasted Domaine L’Arnesque’s white Côtes du Rhône, I was skeptical. Short of Hermitage, most Rhône whites are for early drinking and this one had more than a couple of years in bottle. But the wine was fresh, interesting and delicious.

So, when I decided to include the Southern Rhône in my recent French wine tour, I could hear Chief’s voice in my head, “You gotta go to Domaine de L’Arnesque!” We tried to schedule it, but turns out the proprietors, Marie and Sébastien Pathier spend all their time in the vineyards and the cellar so they don’t have much time for phone and email.

Undaunted, fellow VDLT member, David Trovillion and I showed up at their front gate and Marie and her dog welcomed us. The Côtes du Rhône Blanc bowled me over again and we found some new gems, including the feature of today’s newsletter - Plan de Dieu.

Plan de Dieu means plain of god, likely because many centuries ago your only hope for traversing this land thick with marauders was to place your trust in god. Until the legendary Knights Templar established one of their religious communities here and planted the vineyards. The first recorded account of wine from this area is 1326.

In modern times, Plan de Dieu was originally labeled Côtes du Rhône. In 2005, it earned the more prestigious moniker, Côtes du Rhône Villages and now, is one of 20 areas that can use its actual name as the appellation. All bottles of Plan de Dieu (only about 50 estates produce it), are etched with the local crest of a grape cluster below a halo.

L’Arnesque’s Plan de Dieu 2015, made mostly from Grenache, is surprisingly suave and sophisticated. It’s a joy to drink now but has the tannins and backbone to improve with time. A perfect wine for when the nights get cooler and dinner fare heartier.

Both the Plan de Dieu and the 2017 Côtes du Rhône Blanc are incredible values, priced for loading up - which you’ll be glad you did after tasting these beauties. We offer them on pre-arrival with free shipping. Look for more wines from this terrific property coming soon.

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