La Gramiere Green Label Southern Rhone, 2011

Variety(ies):  Grenache, Syrah

It’s hard to improve on the description that Amy and Matt have shared regarding their flagship Green Label cuvee of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah that represents 80% of their production.  So I quote from their website, “Vinified and aged in concrete tanks.  Our terroir is principally made up of sandy loam, with soft limestone and some small areas with red clay . . . Our wines are rich and concentrated with loads of personality and southern Rhône character.  The grapes are handpicked by our family and friends and then transported in small cases to the winery.  The grapes are de-stemmed and then fermented with the naturally occurring yeasts, the only additive is a small amount of sulfur dioxide.  Skin contact lasts from two to four weeks depending on the characteristics of the vintage.  The wines are then aged in concrete tanks from 12-24 months, again depending on the different aspects of the vintage.

What I find so intriguing about the 2011 Green Label from Amy and Matt is how connected it is to the vineyard on both the nose and palate. Of course it has deep, nicely ripe, red and black fruit notes along with a typical Southern Rhone herb garni, but unlike what all too often goes missing in wines from Southern France these days, there is a lovely earthy, mineral spine and firm acidity that elevates the experience of this beauty and ensures the wine doesn’t feel heavy or ponderous. I recently drank a bottle of this wine from the 2009 vintage and I can personally attest to the additional complexity and integration of youthful energy that takes place in these wines. By all means bring one of these to the table today. But don’t be afraid to stash some in the back of your cellar and pull them out periodically over the next five to seven years.