Rhône Valley vintner Jean-Louis Chave has ventured further south in France than usual for the latest addition to his wine portfolio. While his family domaine produces prestigious Hermitage and St.-Joseph wines from the Northern Rhône, Chave is now making a less-expensive Côtes du Rhône from the Southern Rhône.
The wine, called Mon Coeur, is a blend of Grenache and Syrah. Chave purchases the grapes from a small number of producers and then blends and vinifies the wines himself at one of his cellars.
Chave stressed that his latest venture is separate from Domaine Chave. Instead, the Mon Coeur project is part of the J.L. Selections negociant firm, which Chave founded in 1995 with California wine merchant Kermit Lynch. "[The domaine's] wine culture comes from making our estate-grown wines," said Chave. "It is a totally different philosophy and approach to making wines from purchased grapes."
The first release of Mon Coeur is the 1998, a potentially outstanding vintage in the Southern Rhône, which fared better than the north that year. Chave produced 1,665 cases from a total of 10 acres of vineyards south of the Drome River. Mon Coeur is being imported to the United States by Eddie Gelsman of the Wine Library in California; the wine retails for around $20 a bottle.