Chateauneuf-du-Pape and other Rhone wines from a famous family winery
Domaine de Marcoux is not one of the biggest producers in Chateauneuf, but it is a very highly respected family winery with a history of making quality wines, with biodynamic principles. Their recent vintages have just arrived on the market in Sweden, but are also available in many other countries. BKWine Magazine’s reporter Sven-Olof Johansson reports.
In the launch that the internet wine merchant Caviste is doing today, September 13th, we meet with a pair of female winemakers, Catherine and Sophie Armenier, who have very well-deservedly earned a good reputation. With a biodynamic philosophy and committed work, I dare to say that they have created some really good wines from Chateauneuf du Pape and the southern Rhône valley.
The launch includes the following wines.
Raisin de Loup, Domaine de Marcoux
Easy-going, low-key and clean nose with a nice resonance. Light, young touch but not at all a lean body, although one can almost feel it’s just been bottled. Slender, elegant and fresh. Perfect for a social occasion or with something to nibble on while waiting for the food. It is a vin de france (previously called vin de table), has no vintage designation, but is from 2017.
Côtes du Rhône 2017, Domaine de Marcoux
Here too the nose is clean and fresh, but some masculine power breaks in with a certain hint of barnyard, which went away with a bit of aeration, distinct but balanced tannins, good grip and long aftertaste. Good body, spice and texture mean it is asking to be drunk with food. Well-made and beautiful colour.
Chateauneuf du Pape 2016, Domaine de Marcoux
It hits you immediately with power, warmth, dark red berries and spiciness. A certain intensity certainly comes from the alcoholic strength of 15.5% but this does not in any way show on the nose. Soft tannins, good structure, matching viscosity and length. When looking at the label one instinctively has the tendency to say that it is too young but once in the glass, with a little air, it is very accessible and interesting already now. The youth was more elegant than juvenile.
In spite of the charge in the term “biodynamic”, as Marcoux is, I think we are all positive about the effect. Very few lean on the bar and ask for a glass of red with pesticides. Philippe Armenier transferred the enthusiasm for Rudolf Steiner’s philosophy to his daughters Catherine and Sophie who still run the domaine in the same spirit and, in turn, is teaching one of the sons to take over the baton.
The younger generation takes a little more lightly on the importance of burying cow horns under moonlight but maintains the importance of organic farming. The vineyards in Chateauneuf du Pape extends over 17.5 ha of which barely is planted with white grape varieties. The average age of the vines is fifty years. A bit more than five hectares are 60-110 years.
My guess is that Raisin de Loup from Domaine Marcoux may be perfect to pull the cork on next summer. But the Cotes du Rhone and the Chateauneuf du Pape can easily spend a few years in the cellar with a good conscience. I had the pleasure of trying Marcoux Cotes du Rhone 2015 and it showed a significant development of the nose and improved balance in the mouth. Equally, their Chateauneuf du Pape 2013 showed a very nice evolution of the bouquet and had added complexity. Granted, this was a cooler vintage and with a lower alcoholic strength, 14.5%, that, of course, contributed. A matter of taste, of course, but try to keep your fingers in control for a little while. I know it’s worth it.
These wines are available in Sweden from Caviste from September 13th, and from good wine merchants in other countries.
Sven-Olof Johansson is a wine enthusiast in Stockholm with a long history of wine tasting experience.
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The southern Rhône Valley is a great source of exciting wines, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Côtes du Rhône, as well as many other appellations. There’s a lot happening here. You can discover many of these lovely wines on site on a wine tour to the Rhone Valley with BKWine.
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