This might seem a bit hypocritical given the tone of our previous blog, but the arrival of our annual shipment from the extraordinarily fine Domaine de la Mordorée in the southern Rhône Valley always prompts a fresh wave of excitement at Wines of Interest HQ. Obviously we are long term fans of the estate; so is Jancis Robinson and so is Robert Parker, both with their very different but equally valid palates and preferences. Even some really great producers have their detractors, but Domaine de la Mordorée seems to be held in high esteem throughout the trade and ranks of writers and critics.
The property consists of holdings in Tavel, Lirac and Châteauneuf-du-Pape and excels in all three districts. In Lirac, at least, it is considered to be the finest producer even by its peers, setting a benchmark which most others find hard to follow. Here particularly the hard work on this estate has done much to raise the reputation of the commune as a whole and deserves significant praise.
Every line we take is on allocation to us - you might expect the top examples, made in smaller quantities, to be rationed, but Christophe Délorme - the head honcho - can sell everything he makes with ease and our orders are always ruthlessly trimmed back. The estate’s growing following in America, spread by the aforementioned Mr. Parker, and Christophe’s viticultural perfectionism resulting in low yields, both ensure that quantities to little players like Wines of Interest will not increase. Further, Christophe has been working towards biodynamic production for years, introducing plots to this demanding régime one at a time which also takes its toll on volume.
So what have we managed to coax out this time? Not a lot, in all honesty, but a few precious cases each of 2013 Côtes du Rhône Rosé, 2013 Tavel Rosé and his white 2013 Lirac, “La Reine des Bois”; not much of the 2013 Côtes du Rhône Rouge and a handful of cases of 2012 Lirac, “La Dame Rousse”, 2012 Lirac, “La Reine des Bois” and a jealously guarded, tiny stash of the miraculous 2012 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, “La Reine des Bois”. We also have a small parcel of a relatively new red line in its 2013 variant, called La Remise de Mordorée, of which more in a few paragraphs.
The vintages are both excellent at this estate, but significantly different. 2012 is one of Christophe’s declared favourites, in his top five over the last thirty-ish years. I will not presume to do any better than reproduce his own summary for you….
“The wines are harmonious, balanced, suave and fresh and at the same time incredibly fragrant, with a rare aromatic complexity and a subtle blend of floral and fruity aromas, a great vintage playing on its finesse, elegance and its refined concentration, one that makes you fall in love as soon as you taste it: a beautiful vintage.”
2013 clearly presented considerable challenges as a cold winter and cool, wet spring triggered a coulure - essentially the embryonic bunchlets shatter and flowers remain sterile with an uneven fruiting at best or even total failure. In this instance the Grenache vineyards were badly hit with an 80% spoil rate on some plots. Other varieties suffered to a much lesser extent and in the end the Syrah was “definitely the best for twenty years” and Mourvèdre, “despite the late maturing year are amazing.” So not all bad then, by any means: Christophe summarises - “2013 was a tough year, one that never let us take a break; thankfully the quality of the wine is remarkable. In conclusion, the wines are great, but will be extremely rare.” We will have to see how much of the senior reds we are allowed next spring.
Now, back to “La Remise” which is a more modest offering with a completely different mix of varieties, very modern and beautifully put together now that the initial experimental phase is past. It is a blend of Merlot with Marselan; Marselan is a vine of huge potential, a cross of Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache which has a particularly dark colour and substantial fruitiness. It also has a good tolerance to oxidation which means that an open bottle will last for a few days without spoiling. This particular wine is what is known at Wines of Interest, as “a big bugger”, very full with considerable body which can be drunk now with suitably hearty scoff like a robust braise of oxtail or cassoulet. At this stage you can enjoy a big sock of youthful, primary fruit, but you could leave it for four years for a rounder feel and more developed flavours.
We now have a broad spread of different vintages going back for several years, though all in modest quantities and in various stages of maturity and drinkability. Below is a list of what we have now and, I know we always say it, nonetheless it bears repeating, if you fancy any of these please jump quickly. In two or three weeks time this list may have changed. Please note that some of these are under bond and we will require notice to get them in for you. This does provide you with a great opportunity to obtain a few bottles for tucking away in the medium term. Please feel free to call us for advice.
Domaine de la Mordoree - Available Wines
2013 Cotes du Rhone Rouge - please enquire
2012 Cotes du Rhone Rouge - please enquire
2012 Lirac Rouge "La Dame Rousse" - please enquire
2011 Lirac Rouge "La Dame Rousse" - please enquire
2012 Lirac Rouge "Cuvee de la Reine des Bois" - please enquire
2011 Lirac Rouge "Cuvee de la Reine des Bois" - please enquire
2009 Lirac Rouge "Cuvee de la Reine des Bois" - please enquire
2012 Chateauneuf du Pape "Cuvee de la Reine des Bois" - please enquire