Organic Rhone

Mon, Sep 12, 22

Organic Rhone

Forgive me if I repeat myself. I thought I sent out an email about this wine before, but I looked through my old emails and could not find it….so here we go.

Altitude 150 Rhone Blend is produced by Domaine de la Charite. The proprietor, Christophe Coste, is one of my favorite suppliers. In 2019, he traveled to our Manchester store for a wonderful tasting of his wines. We were planning another tasting earlier this year but COVID hit. Maybe we will be able to host him again in 2021. Christophe is one of the leading organic wine producers in the Rhone Valley. His website is RhoneOrganicWines.com. His wines are certified Organic by EcoCert. If you were in Europe, his wines would show the green organic symbol as well as the AB sign. Due to US bureaucracy, most European organic wines cannot be labeled as such and both symbols are forbidden on US wine labels.

Christophe farms about 100 acres, split between two Estates: Domaine de la Charite and Domaine de Javone. The usual suspects of grape varieties are present: Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Carignan, and Cinsault. The white grapes are Grenache Blanc and Viognier.

We are sold out of most of his wines at the present time. Once COVID has slowed down, we will restock. Christophe makes a refined and elegant Chateauneuf du Pape, known as La Dame Noir, which is one of only two 100% Mourvèdre Cotes du Rhone wines. He also makes a reasonably priced and delicious 100% Viognier white wine called La Dame Blanche. His fourth wine from the Domaine de la Charite is Altitude 150. The vineyards for Altitude 150 are in the Signargues village. It is the most southern village in the Rhone Valley.

Signargues is home to the 736AD battle between Charles Martel and the Saracens. Charles Martel was the grandfather of Charlemagne. The terroir is a dried riverbed made up of iron laden river stones deposited from the Alps. The wines have a wild garrigue and deep red fruit characteristic. Garrigue is an herbal quality present in the grapes from the surrounding vegetation. Think of it as a mix of thyme, rosemary, lavender, etc…

This wine was picked out by me and our other main wine buyer. We both loved the juicy fruit it displayed. It turned out to be a slower seller than the other wines because it was not rated by any wine writer. But no longer, as it recently received 90 points from Wine Enthusiast Magazine:

“Traces of char, anise and pepper lend smoky complexities to pert blackberry and plum in this Grenache-Mourvèdre blend sourced from Signargues in the high-altitude reaches of the Southern Rhône. Full bodied and mouthwatering with fruit, it’s a ripe sip balanced by an invigorating mineral finish and fine, taut tannins. Ready now, the wine should hold well through 2025.”

This is a nice opportunity for me to retaste a wine that I have not had in a few months; namely about 12 to be exact. Even through my mask, as soon as I opened the bottle, I got a big whiff of ripe fruit. That is a good sign. The wine has a very dark center which transitions to a red brick color and then to clear translucent edges. The youthful, jammy fruit that was present last time I tasted this wine has transitioned into more grace and elegance. The Grenache is starting to shine through, but make no mistake, there is a bit of earthiness from the Mourvèdre hiding in the background. The mouthfeel is terrific. The wine coats all areas of the tongue. The tannins are falling away. Right now, they are very minimal, but they are there just enough to give the wine some back bone. The flavors are seamless, all parts are working together. The Grenache shine on the front palate and then the Mourvèdre takes over for the long, earthy finish. Delicious. No need for any aeration as the wine is ready to go when you open the bottle.

Between all of our stores, we have about 120 bottles. With the small amount left at the different locations, I suggest ordering it from ShopRandalls.com. If the store you normally shop at has sold out, please order it from one of the other locations and specify the store you want to pick it up at during the checkout process. We can transfer between our Missouri locations. It may take an extra day or so, but we will get it to the correct location and contact you when it is ready to pick up.