Unique Natural Côtes du Rhône

Today’s Story: Domaine Gramenon

Domaine Gramenon was established in 1978 in Montbrison-sur-Lez which rests in the northernmost area of southern Côtes du Rhône in France. Located on the foothills of the Alps, Domaine Gramenon sits at about 1,150 feet above sea level on soils made largely of limestone, sands, and clay once covered by the sea 86 million years ago. The domaine is largely planted with Grenache thanks to its adaptability to the elevation and region, and many of their vines are old with ages ranging from 50 to 120 years old. Since the domaine’s founding, they practice natural and organic vineyard cultivation though adopted biodynamic practices and received the DEMETER certification in 2010. All harvesting is accomplished by hand and rigorous selection goes into sorting the fruit before they are ultimately shaken (never crushed by tools) into concrete vats. All Domaine Gramenon wines are meant to showcase their terroir in unadulterated fashion, so spring cuvées age in vats and old vine cuvées age in old barrets and minimal (if any) SO2 is added.

To learn more about the domaine, particularly with a wonderful depiction of their terroir, check out the website here.

Today’s Wine: 2018 l’élémentaire

75% Grenache, 25% Syrah; 14.3% ABV

The 2018 l’élémentaire is opaque deep purple in color which leaves heavy staining on the glass. This needs at least an hour or two to decant, but once it opens up the nose showcases aromas of blackberry, black plum, cassis, anise, tobacco, clay, wet gravel, chocolate, and dark roast coffee bean. On the palate, I get notes of blackberry compote, jammy blueberry, plum, black cherry, leather, loamy soil, dried herbs, black pepper, and smoky spice. This wine is medium- to full bodied with medium acidity, medium tannins, and a medium (+) length finish. Drinks better on the second day.

Winemaking process: Produced from 45 year old vines cultivated with biodynamic farming; fruit is sorted manually; 15 day maceration in concrete vats; partially de-stemmed clusters; natural yeast fermentation; light addition of SO2.

Price: $30. Not a bad price for this fun “natural” wine, and it’s one of those that is different than what most people expect from a Grenache/Syrah blend. Pair this with grilled beef, smoked game, or smoky barbecue chicken.

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