Our tasting impressions
A worthy successor to the wonderful 2015. Not surprisingly given the vintage, it is quite more primary than the '15. While it might not be as charming or complex presently, it is more structured and possibly has more depth. Over time, it might overtake its older brother but what fun we will have assessing that over the next several years.
About this wine
Up until about 25 years ago, Côtes du Rhône Villages was the name given to Côtes du Rhône wines of higher distinction. A few of the best like Cairanne and Rasteau started appending their village name. Cairanne was elevated to an independent AOC in 2106.
A blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Mourvèdre and 5% Carignan all de-stemmed. The Grenache vines were planted in the 60's & 70's in clay & limestone soil.
Vinification includes the traditional 25-day maceration. Punching-down is done for maximal extraction. Aging is in concrete tanks for 12 months.
About the grape blend
A typical blend, often referred to as G-S-M with a smidge of Carignan. Grenache the preeminent red wine grape of the Southern Rhône, makes full-bodied, red-fruited wine. It enjoys very dry, hot and windy conditions but the vines produce scant fruit which means great concentration. The Syrah provides structure, savoriness and black fruit. The Mourvèdre contributes length, tannins and floral notes, and Carignan adds tannins as well plus acidity.
About the vintage
2016 is one of the most balanced vintages in the last 30 years, combining vibrant fruit, strong tannic structure yet roundness. An enjoyable vintage early on with capability of aging and improving for decades.
Suggested Glassware: Grassl Cru
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.