This past summer we deviated from our usual routine of spending our entire vacation in Italy and spent time in Southern France. It was a magical week in a beautiful village at the base of the mighty Mont Ventoux spent cycling, immersing ourselves in the local culture and enjoying the village markets from which we cooked the most delicious meals in our little Provencal house. We had such an amazing time that we've already booked another trip there next year and are hoping to schedule a customer tour there in the near future.
Why the Ventoux you ask? Because it is a wine and cycling mecca! People (including us!) come from all over the world to attempt to pedal up the "giant of France" one of the epic climbs of the Tour de France. And it also happens that one of my favorite producers was a mere 10 miles from where we were staying. The vineyards of Domaine Fondreche provide a breathtaking and intimidating view of the Ventoux and produce a line of highly rated Rhone blends in the hands of winemaker Sebastien Vincenti.
Domaine de Fondreche is a 38 hectare property in a unique part of the Ventoux. The vineyards sit higher up on a plateau than any other in the appellation providing different soils and geographic positioning found nowhere else. Sebastian also farms organically, planting the local varieties of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Mourvedre in the clay, limestone and silex soils. The syrah at Fondereche is a special clone called Serine. It is described as the ancient, local variety of Syrah, and it is markedly different from modern selections. Serine grapes are more oval in shape, with lots of space in the bunch and has lots of violet and perfume; very aromatic. The Cinsault is used exclusively for his amazing Provence-style rosé, no red wine is made from it.
Because of our relationship with the winery and the importer, we were able to get our hands on a few cases of his reds and rosé at a reduced price. We also carry his mineral driven Rhone-style white, a refreshing yet full bodied blend of Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Clairette. These are all super wines that are beautiful expressions of the unique terroir of Domaine Fondreche and the Ventoux. See the ratings and pricing below!
2011 Domaine de Fondreche Cotes du Ventoux Cuvee Nadal, $25.99
Rating: 93, Robert Parker
Drink 2013 - 2024
Along the same lines, quality wise, the 2011 Cotes du Ventoux Nadal, a blend of 45% Syrah, 45% Grenache and 10% Mourvedre, (Syrah and Mourvedre aged in barrel, the Grenache in concrete tank) exhibits gorgeously pure notes of creme de cassis, currants, licorice, sweet oak and chocolate that flow to a medium to full-bodied, rich and layered profile on the palate. Upfront, texture and full-flavored, with mouth filling amounts of fruit, it is a knockout effort that will deliver the goods for over a decade.
2011 Domaine de Fondreche Cotes du Ventoux Cuvee Persia, $30.99
Rating: 92 Robert Parker
Drink 2015 - 2025
The 2011 Cotes du Ventoux Persia is a beauty! A blend of 90% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre, aged in a combination of small barrels and demi-muids, it offers a stunning bouquet of cassis, vanilla, coffee and hints of flowers to go with a full-bodied, layered and beautifully textured profile on the palate. This terroir always shows beautiful purity, freshness and focus, and this vintage is no exception. Benefiting from a decant, it will ideally be given another year or so in the cellar, and enjoyed over the following decade.
2014 Domaine de Fondrèche Ventoux Rosé, $18.50
Rating: 89 Vinous Media
Drink 2015 - 2017
Pale onion skin color. Pungent red berry and orange pith aromas are complicated by hints of dried flowers and succulent herbs. Fleshy and dry on the palate, offering spicy redcurrant and raspberry flavors and a touch of tarragon. Closes with gentle grip and good persistence, leaving a suave floral note behind.