Jean-Marc Espinasse is an irresistible character. Impossibly good-looking, with a talented literary American wife Kristin to match, he had little difficulty in persuading us to take on the wines of his new domaine just east of Orange. They are lusty, honest and vivid, showing a quality that belies the relative modesty of their appellation. Our confidence that you would embrace them as exemplars of an increasingly rare authenticity in a world of vinous artifice has been amply borne out. The production is completely organic, and involves many biodynamic practices. Jean-Marc is a tireless advocate for his wines and they have quickly garnered high critical acclaim. Ever restless, he has bought a domaine in Bandol and sold a controlling share of Rouge-Bleu to a Franco-Australian couple, Caroline and Thomas Jones, who have thus far shown great aptitude and flair in their vinous efforts.
(55% Carignan, 45% Grenache) Carignan is thought of as the Languedoc variety par excellence, but it can make distinctively brambly and authentic wine in the Rhône as well, especially when blended with the local kingpin grape Grenache. The 2010 has all the generosity and balance one expects of this textbook year.
(Grenache) The lunar landscape from which these grapes are sourced (pebbly alluvial soil) and the influence of the moon on biodynamic practices generate the name for this top wine from Rouge Bleu. Very old vines (70-100 years), minimal intervention, and no filtration yield a pure Grenache expression with kirsch highlights and extreme length on the palate.
A selection of the older vines, some over 75 years old, are harvested late and vinified together, stems, leaves and all, using indigenous yeasts. The results will please Rhone enthusiasts from the New World as much as the Old. Expresses great typicité vintage after vintage.
(55% Carignan, 45% Grenache) A fascinating contrast to the fuller-colored, spicier examples from our other Rhône producers, this offers a lovely conciliation of delicate fruit and understated earth tones with exceptional freshness.