|Domaine de la Grange des Peres
The 2006 Grange des Peres red had been assembled but not bottled when I visited in December. (In Vaille’s frigid, canal-side cellar, wines in cask evolve very slowly.) This millerandage-afflicted vintage has produced such a small crop in red as well as white, that Vaille said he would have practical difficulties figuring out how best to allocate it to his customers. This smells and tastes like a blend of pit and bush fruit distillates with some resinous, herbal elixir. The sheer density on exhibit here – including a huge web of finely-spun tannins – makes for a certain severity. “It’s not very baroque,” is Vaille’s wry comment, and I would concur. This is going to need at least 5-6 years in the cellar to even begin to reveal its full potential, and I can imagine a long bottle evolution borrowing elements from the Medoc, Hermitage, and Chateauneuf (much as Vaille’s choice of grapes anticipates). Yet even if its potential is far from realization, this wine’s layered complexity and visceral intensity are already undeniable. Cassis, cherry pits, dark chocolate, honey, walnut oil, iodine, roasted meats, resinous and bitter-sweet herbs, and wet stone are among the flavor elements that implacably stain the palate.