james molesworth

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Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Chêne Bleu Finds Its Footing

Up in the breezy hills, Nicole Sierra-Rolet's project blossoms

Posted: July 9, 2014  By James Molesworth

The all-star vinification team behind the still relatively nascent Chêne Bleu hasn't changed—Zelma Long has been consulting here since 2008 and Philippe Cambie since its inception. Thomas Oui is the day-to-day enologist while the husband-and-wife team of Jean-Louis and Benedicte Ballucci handles the vineyards, cellar and just about everything else on this sprawling 321-acre estate, which now has 57 acres of vines in production. Here are my notes on the 2011 lineup.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

At Rotem & Mounir Saouma, a Little Bit of Everything

But there's nothing ordinary about this young Rhône domaine

Posted: July 8, 2014  By James Molesworth

There are different ways to create a domaine. Most who start from scratch build up slowly, progressing linearly, either growing in size and/or refining or evolving their style over the years (see: Barrot, Julien or Giraud, Marie). Or you can go about it in a completely different way, experimenting, exploring tangents and basically doing things that people tell you not to do.

"I have people stopping when they see my vineyard and coming to tell me I'm crazy. They say 'You can't do it that way.' And I say, 'Why not?'" said Mounir Saouma.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Château de Beaucastel: A Châteauneuf Benchmark

The Perrin family just keeps going and going and going …

Posted: July 7, 2014  By James Molesworth

No introduction needed here. Château de Beaucastel is one of the benchmark estates in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and has been a large presence for a long time in the U.S. market. Here are my tasting notes on the 2012 Beaucastels, tasted with Marc Perrin.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

The Wind of Change Blows Through Domaine de la Vieille Julienne

Jean-Paul Daumen shifts his philosophy while maintaining quality

Posted: July 3, 2014  By James Molesworth

The last time I visited with Jean-Paul Daumen, I wrote about how this soft-spoken but very serious vigneron doesn't change much, but instead just quietly cranks out some of the best and most long-lived wines in the AOC. Of course, on this visit, he's now in the midst of quite a bit of change ….

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Checking In with the Good Ol' Boys

The Coulon brothers of Domaine de Beaurenard bring out the terroir in their Châteauneuf reds and whites

Posted: July 2, 2014  By James Molesworth

I always like to stop in with the brothers Coulon at Domaine de Beaurenard after visiting Clos des Papes. Not only are they right across the street, so I won't be running too late, as tastings with Paul and Vincent Avril can run a little over budgeted time, but they provide a great contrast. Clos des Papes makes one wine, aged in foudre and without new oak, while at Beaurenard there are a few cuvées, and there's a mix of vat, demi-muid and barrel aging, including some new oak.

But don't make the mistake of thinking that Domaine de Beaurenard only makes a merely modernized wine—far from it. The Coulons have been farming biodynamically for a few years now and their wines, while framed by toasty spice notes, drip with plenty of terroir. For background on Frédéric and Daniel Coulon, the good ol' boys of Châteauneuf-du-Pape white wines, you can reference several older posts, starting with the notes from my June 2012 visit.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Clos des Papes Sets the Pace

Vincent Avril has Châteauneuf-du-Pape's flagship estate rolling

Posted: July 1, 2014  By James Molesworth

I finished off a day of visiting some of the town's youngest vignerons (Julien Barrot of Domaine La Barroche and Marie Giraud of Domaine Giraud) with a stop at Domaine de la Charbonnière, where Véronique Maret, just 30, assumed full control of the winemaking in 2012, after starting at the domaine alongside her father, Michel, in 2009.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

At Domaine de la Charbonnière, Another Young Vigneron Settles In

Véronique Maret hits the mark in her first solo vintage (though Dad is still hanging around)

Posted: June 30, 2014  By James Molesworth

I finished off a day of visiting some of the town's youngest vignerons (Julien Barrot of Domaine La Barroche and Marie Giraud of Domaine Giraud) with a stop at Domaine de la Charbonnière, where Véronique Maret, just 30, assumed full control of the winemaking in 2012, after starting at the domaine alongside her father, Michel, in 2009.

June 30, 2014 Issue  :  Tasting Reports

Bordeaux 2013 Disaster Averted

Leading châteaus salvage a pedestrian vintage for reds, while whites and sweet wines excel

Posted: June 30, 2014  By James Molesworth

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Domaine Giraud, the Quiet Elite

Marie Giraud has steadily piloted her family domaine to the top

Posted: June 27, 2014  By James Molesworth

A semi-regular stop when I'm in the area, you can reference background on Domaine Giraud from my 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008 blog notes.

Marie Giraud, along with her brother François, has steadily put this family domaine among the elite of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The pair is hands-on, managing their 62 acres (spread over a staggering 64 parcels) and produce on average 5,000 cases annually.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

At Domaine La Barroche, the Kid Settles In

With 10 vintages under his belt, Julien Barrot refines his style

Posted: June 26, 2014  By James Molesworth

When he first started at his family domaine, Julien Barrot (who previously guest blogged for us during a harvest) had short hair and admittedly put a lot of himself into his wines. Now, though still just a young 34, Barrot has let his locks grow long, and he feels he's learned a thing or two over his first 10 vintages at Domaine La Barroche in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

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