Domaine Gramenon is one of the most respected producers in the Rhône. In Robert Parker’s book on the wines of the Rhône valley, he classified Gramenon in the same category as Beaucastel and Fonsalette.
In 1998, owner Phillipe Laurent nearly doubled the area of his vineyards by purchasing some 50 acres in Vinsobres. Unfortunately, he in 1999 died in a tragic accident and his wife decided to sell some of the fields, selling 35 acres the Perrin brothers at Beaucastel. Michelle Aubery-Laurent and her son Maxim-François continue making wines in a pretty natural way, with sulphur dioxide used just at assemblage. They don’t go for much high-tech in their very traditional cellar. Their vineyards are farmed organically, and they never filter or fine their wines.
Their wines are not very well known in the United States as they are available on a limited basis. I found Gramenon’s wines through Kermit Lynch’s newsletter. He described them as a pure expression of biodynamically farmed, old vines Grenache. The fruit flavors they attain are knock-out and tempered by a core of strong minerality. Some might not want to pay $30 for a bottle of Côtes du Rhône, but I was able to pick up a sampler pack of their wine from Kermit Lynch at 25% off and each one of the wines has been a winner.
Laurentides is one of several special cuvees the estate produces, this one a blend of old-vine Grenache with Syrah. Dark ruby red in color. Dark cherry and raspberry with notes of Dr. Pepper, underbrush and Twizzler on the nose. On the palate, lots of ripe fruit (but not overdone) — with dark cherry, pomegranate and currant with graphite/crushed asphalt, earth and a hint of bubble gum. Very approachable while still being just a bit austere. It’s not always easy to pick out a wine from a line up of Côtes du Rhônes, but this is unique and a stand out.
14% alcohol. Imported by Kermit Lynch. Recommended.
Other wines from Domaine Gramenon:
Domaine Gramenon Sierra du Sud 2007
Domaine Gramenon La Sagesse Côtes du Rhône 2007
Domaine Gramenon Côtes du Rhône Blanc Vie on y Est 2008
Other Côtes du Rhônes from the 07 vintage:
Escaravailles Côtes du Rhônes 2007
Côtes du Rhône Maxime-François Laurent Il Fait Soif 2007
Domaine Depeyre Côtes du Roussillon Villages 2007
Domaine Richaud Côtes du Rhône Terres de Galets 2007
Saint Cosme Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2007