La Cabotte has been a popular offering at The Wine Country for over two decades. In the best years, the wine offers an appealing juiciness that makes the wine likable. Over the years, the estate has moved to biodynamic farming (über-organic, if you will), sometimes with mixed results. It’s really hard to control winemaking when you leave all the control to nature! But I’m happy to report that the 2019 vintage has been very, very good to La Cabotte, a satisfying red at an unbelievably friendly price.
You would expect to pay a lot more for a wine made with such dedication. In 1980 Burgundian winemaker Gabriel d’Ardhuy fell in love with this property on a bicycle trip with his grandchildren. He was so taken by the beauty of this 45-hectae property near Mondragon he bought it. Blessed with old-vine Grenache, (later planted to Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Carignan) and lanes lined with mature olive trees, it is a little slice of Provençal paradise. Gabriel’s daughter, Marie-Pierre d’Ardhuy-Plumet and her husband Eric Plumet have run the domaine ever since, bringing the once-abandoned property back to life. Since 2007 they began to convert their farming to organic and biodynamic methods, using the lunar calendar as a guidepost, and keeping their yields low, a rarity for Côtes du Rhône in this area.
When we first sampled the 2019, I was happy the old juiciness and clean-tasting fruit had returned. There is almost a sweetness to the character of the dark-berried taste, but it is not a sweet wine. Plush and generous, yet contained within a classic wine structure. It is bottled unfiltered, retaining all its complexity and irresistible charm. Yes, La Cabotte is back!