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Domaine Font de Courtedune Cotes du Rhone Village 2019
DOZEN: $345.60 or $28.80 each
Co-owner Alex Wilcox has chosen this for his 2021 Staff Pick, here's why:
I love Southern Rhone Reds when they have ripe Grenache yet are not heavy with alcohol or oak. This 2019 Font de Coutedune is the best yet! Dense and vibrant, it's concentrated Grenache with freshness. Perfect for summer drinking but will do well in the cellar. And it's great value. The secret to this wine is the old vines grown on sandy soils to the North of Chateauneuf du Pape and some great winemaking. ALEX WILCOX, PWS
Domaine Font de Courtedune – for now, at least – is something of an insider’s secret. With vineyards right next door to Château Rayas, and sharing the same sandy soils, this tiny Châteauneuf-du-Pape estate produces outstanding wines that are a fraction of the price of those of its famous neighbour.
The vineyards have long been owned by the Charrier family, but the fruit was sold to the local co-operative until 1997, when René Charrier established the domaine. Today his children Caroline and Frédéric are in charge.
Everything here is joyously traditional. The old vines (some of which are over 100 years old) are all farmed sustainably, with as little intervention as possible; a philosophy that follows through into the winery. Everything is whole-bunch, fermented and aged in concrete vats, with no oak to be found in the winery at all. They work almost exclusively with Grenache, with just a splash of Mourvèdre, Counoise, Cinsault and Terret Noir to add extra spice and body to the wines.
This is heady and lifted with briary fruits that leap out of the glass followed by fresh cracked pepper corn, amaro spice and fresh orange peel. It's so enticing on the nose and a little air brings out a touch of wild herbs and soft vanilla. The fruits is sweet and with cool black and red fruits hemmed in nicely but fine powdery tannins. There is a touch of oppulence all round but it sits tightly in a neat and focused package.