Gramenon "La Sagesse" Cotes du Rhone 2020
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Direct Press Selection | March 2022
It’s no secret of our deep affection for the wines of Michèle Aubéry-Laurent and her son Maxime at Domaine Gramenon. She makes wines that are simultaneously hearty and lively. Not only do the wines walk a delicate tightrope between these opposing styles, they do it with flash and excitement. This is no easy stunt to pull-off, and that's why I'm always so impressed by her work.
She and her late husband Philippe were early practitioners of natural farming practices and minimalist winemaking. An acquaintance of mine who used to spend summers in the 1980s with his grandparents in the same area recounted the local butcher, who sold Gramenon, keeping the bottles in the fridge because the corks were known to pop out from refermentation. These days that's not a concern, however. They are stable and clean, the result of many years of experience using minimal sulfur. They still produce much of the food they eat themselves and raise animals. Gramenon has been certified Biodynamic since 2010.
La Sagesse is 100% Grenache from three parcels. Two are planted on limestone outcroppings, which help give this wine just enough lift to make it sing. The third is on sandy soil facing south, adding some of the power. This is a serious, age-worthy Grenache that is up there with Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Softly floral, it’s got a thick and spicy body with lots of black pepper, sweet paprika, and cedar notes. At the core is a vivid and lush concentration of fresh fruit. On the finish is some blueberry Pop-Tart goodness with cinnamon, nutmeg, and finally a little anise. A masterful balance of fruit, tannin, and transcendent energy. This will age well for 10 years but it is still very approachable now. [Jonathan Kemp, February 2022]