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11 Dec 2021 | Samantha Dugan

WELCOME BACK TO CHATEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE

“I’ve not an idea what is happening in my own region” the straight faced and furrowed brow of Anne Charlotte Melia-Bachas, winemaker for Chateau de la Font du Loup in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, one of France’s most praised red wine growing regions. I had taken the appointment with one of my favorite French sales reps, more as a favor than because I particularly wanted to taste the wines, that was until I met the wildly charming and fiercely honest Anne Charlotte and tasted her wines. Her wavy auburn hair, the funky lime green frames of her spectacles, her earnest words floating across the table like music to my ears, “I’ve not an idea what is happening in my own region”

I too had no idea what was going on in Chateauneuf-du-Pape and had pretty much written the region off as a press ruined bastion of over oaked and highly alcoholic red wine. A once noble growing region seemed to willingly succumb to the seduction of receiving high scores from wine critics and what’s the best way to stand out in a tasting lineup? Yeah, increase extraction, ripeness, alcohol and slam the wine in expensive oak. Stand out it will, but stand out at the dinner table, with food, or stand out as a perfect representation of your region? Welp, nope. All that dense fruit, hot to the tongue booze and vanilla-rich oak does not allow for terroir, or regional typicity. Obliterates in fact so those of us that crave wines that speak their accent, or sense of place, we were left behind by those over-polished and placeless wines.   

I spent over an hour with Anne Charlotte that afternoon. We talked, she shared her disappointment with the nearly unrecognizable wines her neighbors were cranking out and she spoke to how grateful she was to have her winery situated in the northern most part of Chateauneuf-du-Pape where the weather is far cooler with soils that are more sandy than stony, so less susceptible to having the hot summer sun-baked galettes, (large flat stones in the vineyards) hold the heat against the vines, therefore getting less intense ripeness. I felt her passion for Chateauneuf-du-Pape in her words and most assuredly in each of her wines that I sipped on, remembering how utterly delectable classically structured Southern Rhone wines can be when they are balanced, true to place and not trying to catch the attention of some wine critic tasting through 40 wines in one sitting. Both were so refreshing, and I fell in love with Chateauneuf-du-Pape again, at least with the wines from Chateau de la Font du Loup. I get what I can, (she doesn’t make a ton) each vintage, and they are often the first gone as I cannot stop telling people about them. Just got the new releases in, just in time for the holidays.   Hooray for us! Don’t overlook these wines and they make a perfect gift for the wine lover on your list, especially when you are unsure what they drink, these are world class, traditional French wines that titillate an insanely wide range of palates. Honored to stock and drink these wines.  

THE WINE

 2020 Chateau de la Font du Loup Cotes du Rhone  $25.99 per a bottle (only 5 cases available)

2020 Chateau de la Font du Loup Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc $62.99 per a bottle (only 1 case available)

2019 Chateau de la Font du Loup Chateauneuf-du-Pape $56.99 per a bottle (only 2 cases available)

2019 Chateau de la Font du Loup Puy Rolland  $74.99 per a bottle (only 2 cases available)

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