Each month when selecting wines for the club I try to find something that will bring you closer to a producer or deepen your understanding of some element of natural viticulture or wine making. Try as I might to plan and impose a structure on the act of choosing, sometimes I’m just so dang surprised and delighted by a wine and its story that I can’t resist tucking it into the club. It wouldn’t be wrong to call my process ‘organic’ to which I would comment “organic isn’t the easy path but it is a rewarding path”.
This month’s process was launched one lucky afternoon when we were presented a stunning line up of wines from Domaine Hauvette. I’ve known this estate for many years but for a variety of reasons we’ve had spotty access to it here in Seattle. So, it was with the kind of joy that you feel when you unexpectedly run into a dear friend and seamlessly fall back into step that I tasted the wines…inspired. Hauvette was the springboard which, in a winding way, led to Chateau Sainte Anne and Domaine Laguerre.
Drink with Focus
Dominique Hauvette has the kind of story that people want to have (at least this person). In the early ‘80s she left her job as a lawyer in the Savoie to re-find her passion for raising horses. This shift ultimately landed her in Les Baux de Provence located the rocky, scrubby foothills of the Alpilles where she established her estate. Once settled, she began learning how to make wine and some thirty-ish years later she farms 17 hectares biodynamically and is making 5 cuvees that speak of her commitment to finding finesse in her rugged terroir.
2010 Domaine Hauvette “Cornaline” Les Baux de Provence, France $45
50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon
Fermented in wooden tanks then aged in foudre.
Domaine Hauvette “Jaspe” IGP Alpilles Blanc, France $35
Fermented in cement eggs then aged in stainless steel tanks.
Of Interest - This wine doesn’t receive the appellation designation of Les Baux in Provence because the rules don’t recognize a wine that is made from 100% Roussanne, therefore it can only be granted the IGP. No matter how it’s labeled it’s amazing!
Drink Everyday Club
Château Sainte Anne
Château Sainte Anne is another estate that we’ve loved for many vintages. Although this is a 5-generation estate they ‘officially’ began making wine naturally back in the ‘70s, well before it was cool. In fact, they resisted the advertised promise of products chemical companies said would facilitate the vigneron’s life and never employed the use of herbicides or pesticides. This long time commitment to natural practices brought them, along with famed producers Lappiere, Gramenon and Overnoy together as a group in support of working naturally in vineyards and cellars (hmmm, the beginning of a movement?). Château Sainte Anne has a contiguous property that straddles Bandol and Côtes de Provence. Both are sub-appellations of Provence where the wines produced are historically strong, structured and long lived.
Château Sainte Anne, Côtes de Provence, France $23
Grapes - Mourvedre, Cinsault, Grenache
Fermented in stainless steel tanks and then aged for 18-24 months in old barrels.
Domaine Laguerre Eos Côtes du Roussillon
Founded by Eric Laguerre in 1999 Domaine Laguerre is the youngest of the estates in our line-up this month…still that’s 17 years! The estate is in St. Martin de Fenouillet which is in the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains on granite soils. Laguerre’s vineyards are situated in the cool climate that comes with altitude and are at the highest elevation in the Roussillon region. If you have preconceived notions about Roussillon whites, let go of them. The combination of granite, altitude, low yields and organic farming come together in a way you won’t anticipate.
Domaine Laguerre Eos Côtes du Roussillon, France $16
Grapes - 30% Grenache Blanc, 40% Maccabeo, 30% Rolle
Fun Fact – Eos is the Greek Goddess of the dawn.
P.S. – If anyone is interested in Domaine Hauvette Petra (rose) we have it in 750’s and Magnums! Give me a shout and I’ll set some aside for you.