To celebrate our 22nd anniversary, we like to break out some wines for the Insider's Pick that are a little bit outside the usual range of wines that we usually taste. But we also still want to do what we do best, which is find wines that bring quality beyond their price point. In the Northern Rhone, where vines cling to almost impossibly steep riverbanks terraces many centuries ago, finding value can be just as difficult as the farming. The famous names like Hermitage, Cote-Rotie, and Cornas command top dollar world wide, so you are forced to look on the outskirts to find something similar for less. In this case, a mere 50 yards outside the lines of Cote-Rotie puts you into the Faury's l'Arselie vineyard, close enough to see the individual grapes in a cluster hanging within the Cote. The vinification and care is the same as the estate's famed Cote-Roties, including the traditional pigeage (breaking down of the cap of grapeskins to help extract the color) being done by foot.
Youthful and inky purple in the glass, the aroma is pure Northern Rhone violets and blueberries, cool currants and hints of cured meats, a very savory and much less extracted version of the grape than is found in most other parts of the world. Even in their top wines Faury uses very little new oak, and the used neutral barrels provide an environment for the natural complexity of the grape to show through with no adornments. On the palate the texture is polished and almost Burgundian with the fine tannins and bright acidity, with more of the blue fruit skins and almost squid ink-like savory presence through the finish. The youth of the wine shows at first with a fairly straightforward complexity, but time open brings out a lot of the subtlety found in the aromas, and even starts to add body. In past decades wines on the fringes of the Northern Rhone hot spots couldn't get anywhere near this expression, but improved winemaking and viticulture has enabled vintners to extract every last bit of potential. While some may not consider ANY wine more than $30 a value, those that have tried wines 2x-3x the price and found only marginally better wines know how much quality is appearing here.
The Best of the Best.
We offering free tastings on these wines in the store every Thursday and Friday, and a 10% discount off the retail price through the duration of the day. Come on by and give them a try!