Our tasting impressions
A real beauty and off the charts quality-to-price ratio. Lovely, floral nose and soft, pure, exotic fruit taste. Quite long and the high percentage of Roussanne provides welcome lift. Initially, I thought this would be best young. But as with prior vintages, this wine has a way of outperforming expectations. It has added weight and dimension. Continue to enjoy the jubilant fruit but try to lose a few in the cellar and let’s see what happens in 5 (dare I think 10?) year.
About this wine
Côtes du Rhône Blanc is far less common than Rouge. A blend of 80% Roussanne (vines avg 15 yrs) and 20% Grenache Blanc (vines avg 30 yrs) in Orange with clay and limestone soil covered in stones. Grapes are harvested by machine and destemmed. Vinification is at 18° in enamel vats and on the lees (leftover yeast cells) for 6 months with malolactic fermentation (both add texture and flavors).
About the grape blend
Roussanne, named for its red-brown hue, produces fresh & intense wines with complex flavors of fall fruits, honey and herbs. It is more commonly a blending grape than a headliner. The Grenache Blanc is used for softening yet fattening and more stone-fruit flavors.
About the vintage
2017 presented everything but the kitchen sink conditions - frost, heavy rain and searing heat. The harvest was early and it produced very modest yields. The fruit was similarly small in size but packed with high quality, concentrated juice.
On your table…
Pork medallions in mustard sauce or swordfish in herb butter sauce. Serve at about 52°.
Suggested Glassware: Grassl Liberté
Located in the southern Rhône village of Jonquières, the 8-hectare Domaine de L’Arnesque is owned and operated by Marie & Sébastien Pathier. Marie’s family has produced wine here for six generations since 1846.
More than 70% of the property is planted to Grenache and the average age of the vines is over 50 years. Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan also are grown. They farm without chemical treatments. The grapes are harvested and sorted by hand. Each grape variety and each plot is vinified separately. Sébastien ferments traditionally with an indigenous yeast in concrete tanks.
This is a lovely, tranquil and pastoral estate and the Pathiers are much the same. They are honest, hard-working people who are 100% dedicated to producing beautiful wines that fully express the terroir of their vineyards.