Vasco Perdigao has once again fashioned a powerful age-worthy Vacqueyras of great character in his 2017 Domaine Chamfort Vacqueyras. A traditional blend of 65% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 15% Mourvèdre, the 2017 Domaine Chamfort Vacqueyras from vines in excess of 50 years of age is regally colored and extremely concentrated due to the vintage’s small yields. This is a wine to ward off the cold and rain and let the sun shine in, as its deep-down aroma provides heady scents of dark fruits and Provence’s aromatic landscape with hints of garrigue (the amplifying herbal scents and savors of Provence), pepper and spice, all of which emerge in the mouth to warm the palate and let the sun shine. Rich in fruit and long on flavor, this youthful, full-bodied Vacqueyras is already chock full of hedonistic pleasure, but be sure to afford it some aeration before imbibing. For current consumption, we suggest affording Vasco Perdigao’s delicious age-worthy Vacqueyras an hour or more in a decanter before serving. And as with most fine Rhône reds, serving it cool (58º-62º F) will showcase the wine’s charm as well as its stalwart character. Enjoy!
Lamb, beef, pasta, and full-flavored tomato-rich vegetable dishes are the traditional accompaniments to hearty Rhône reds, and the 2017 Domaine Chamfort Vacqueyras will more than do its part to accompany those foods. However, one of the many attributes of good Vacqueyras is its versatility at table. It can hold court with grand cuisine or lend credence to almost any ordinary meal. The ability of Domaine Chamfort’s 2017 Vacqueyras to render simple country dishes and casual mid-week meals fit for royalty provides testimony to its quality. In addition to fine cuts of beef and lamb, cassoulets, lasagna, and heady pasta dishes, even those with a piquant arrabiata sauce, make tasty companions to Chamfort’s Vacqueyras. Beef sliders, truffle fries, and roasted Brussels sprouts served with crusty French bread and hunks of chèvre or hard cheese also make for a banquet in the company of Vascao Perdigao’s Vacqueyras. Split pea or lentil soup, ratatouilles, and most tomato-based dishes also make great accompaniments to this wine. Bon appétit!
Domaine Chamfort lies at the foot of the last outcropping of the Alps, known as the Dentelles de Montmirail. It extends over 21 hectares (approximately 52 acres) spread over three of the southern Rhône’s most illustrious wine villages: Vacqueyras, Rasteau, and Sablet. Although an established producer in the region for decades, the acquisition of Domaine Chamfort in March 2010 by Vasco Perdigao and his wife Sonia set a new course for this property.
A young and passionate winemaker, Vasco has moved the property to sustainable viticulture and is transitioning Domaine Chamfort’s vineyards to all organic agriculture. By all accounts, Vasco Perdigao is a high energy guy who appears fanatically bent on producing exceptional wine from his vineyards in all three of the villages where he tends vines. Vacqueyras is Perdigao’s flagship wine, a deeply colored forceful Vacqueyras that can hold its own among many more illustrious names from nearby Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but Perdigao’s Côtes-du-Rhône, Rasteau, Sablet and Séguret offerings are equally impressive in their own right. A combination of old vines, low yields, and excellent southeast exposures results in traditional, full-bodied Vacqueyras and Côtes-du-Rhônes. And to Perdigao’s credit, each of his wines exudes a distinct flavor profile that reflects the critical interplay between the artist as winemaker and each vineyard’s distinct terroir. The results have been the ever-growing number of medals and recognition afforded Domaine Chamfort.
France remains a treasure trove of exciting red wines. And nowhere in France is this more the case than in the still largely undiscovered appellation of Vacqueyras – a small jewel that lies in the shadow of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and nearby Gigondas, the appellation’s more famous neighbors. Where Vacqueyras excels is in its ability to consistently fashion powerful, full-flavored red wines that at their finest rival Châteauneuf-du-Pape in everything but price. Vacqueyras is also one of the prettiest wine villages in all France, a quintessential, sun-drenched Provençal town that slumbers in the shadow of the Dentelles de Montmirail, the fantastic mountainous outcroppings that form the last vestiges of the Alps. In spite of the appellation’s still relative obscurity, Vacqueyras has enjoyed great acclaim for centuries for its superb red wine as well as its scenery. To further advance its stature, Vacqueyras lays claims to a favorite son, Raimbaut de Vacqueyras, a celebrated 12th century troubadour. In days gone by, Vacqueyras was also the preferred haunt of Sarah Bernhardt, the 19th century’s most renowned actress and celebrity. The town served no doubt as a haven from the paparazzi of the day. Yet, in spite of its acclaim for exceptional wines, it was not until 1995 that Vacqueyras was granted its own wine appellation, separate from that of the other top Côtes-du-Rhône villages. As is the case throughout France’s southern Rhône Valley, red wine made primarily from Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre predominates in Vacqueyras. Small quantities of white and rosé are also produced in the region.
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