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Peter Falk

Domaine de Colombier 2010 Vacqueyras (Rhône) – Dusty. Tastes of cheap grenache that’s not yet ripe despite a heady miasma of alcohol. (6/11)

Star Tours

[label]Reynaud “Château des Tours” 1998 Vacqueyras “Réserve” (Rhône) – Open several days, with a few glasses absent by the time I get to it. Darkly concentrated blackberry and even darker smoke liqueur, with a counterpoint of walnut soda. Open-ended, by which I mean the initial impression of fruit does a reverse dovetail and leaves an ever-increasing gap as the wine progresses towards the finish. A fruit microbomb, not sophisticated in the least, but not truly explosive either. Freshly-opened bottles have been impenetrable, and given the state of this wine I see absolutely no reason to open any more at this stage. (2/09)

Tours de France

Reynaud “Château de Tours” 1998 Vacqueyras “Réserve” (Rhône) – Mute as if it’s corked, though the exact nature of the flaw – other than the absence of the wine – isn’t fully clear in the time we give the bottle. We put it aside. Twenty-four hours later, I’m told it has blossomed into something dark, rich, and full of fruit (as it’s understood in Vacqueyras, at least), but still youngish. Oh well. (1/09)


[label]Archimbaud-Vache “Le Clos des Cazaux” 2004 Vacqueyras “Cuvée des Templiers” (Rhône) – Blackberry and boysenberry with a bit of a heart of darkness. I don’t want to say it’s jammy, because it’s not, but the fruit edges right up to that status. Thankfully, it doesn’t tip over to the other side, and there’s some dark earth and a lot of surprising suppleness to the finish. I’d like to see where this wine is headed. (10/08)

Body & Cabassole

Faraud “Domaine Cabassole” 2004 Vacqueyras “Vieilles Vignes” (Rhône) – Meat and crushed granite. Dense, tough. Unyielding and not much fun to drink. (2/08)

TN: More old notes

Jean Claude Thévenet Brut Blanc de Blancs (Mâcon) – Soft suggestions of white apricot and gentle chalkiness; pleasing and inoffensive in form. The finish lingers nicely, but this is a very restrained wine. (9/06)

Reynaud “Château des Tours” 1998 Vacqueyras “Réserve” (Rhône) – Dense smoked plum concentrate with wet leather and meat-like components. However, the texture is lush and creamy, it’s quite heavy, and there’s an intense, heavy sweetness to the palate. Is there residual sugar in this wine? The owner says that half his bottles have undergone a secondary fermentation in their bottles, so I guess we know the answer to that question. Anyway, it’s very good in strict moderation, but less so in quantity, and sweet Vacqueyras is crossing too many borders of typicity for me. This tastes like show wine, rather than something one would wish to drink at table. (9/06)

Sabon “Clos du Mont-Olivet” 1990 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “La Cuvée du Papet” (Rhône) – Corked. (9/06)

Domaine Michel Cheveau 2005 Saint-Amour “En Rontey” (Beaujolais) – Surprisingly gentle: delicate red berries and ethereal floral notes dance right on the edge of perception. Surprisingly firm: a strong, granitic structure adds a pillar-like rigidity to matters. Between these two incompatible notions lies a slightly schizophrenic wine. The results are, on the surface, quite nice…as the wine functions both as light-bodied quaffing Beaujolais and something firmer and crisper that stands up to food, but one yearns for something a little more focused. (9/06)