The amplifying scent of black fruits and crushed peppercorns form the initial impression of the 1997 Domaine Durieu Cotes du Ventoux, hardly preparing the taster for the opulent, seductive fruit that permeates this medium-bodied potion. Infused with the hedonistic scent and flavor of Provence: "garrique" and the heady savor of herbes de Provence, this delicious Cotes du Ventoux is hard to resist. One taster called it "hedonism in a glass, but not a sin", so enjoy.
Although we would serve the Domaine Durieu Cotes du Ventoux with a variety of meats and cheeses, and just about any Italian or Provencal fare, we enjoyed this little charmer all by itself the first time we tried it. We were so taken by its seductive charm that we consumed it "au natural". May we suggest that you do the same, then open a second bottle (with friends of course) to have with a gourmet three cheese pizza with spinach and black olives, or just about anything else, Yum!
Paul Durieu is a serious producer of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, expertly crafted Cotes-du-Rhone Villages and knockout Cotes du Ventoux. In addition, he is one of France's most revered Grand Prix race car drivers. Located in the busy, sun-seared village of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Domaine Durieu maintains one of the deepest cellars in all of southern France. Eschewing both the light, modern Beaujolais-style of Rhone wine, as well as the heavy, oxidized, muscular style so popular forty years ago, Durieu seems more of a Contrarian, striking a successful balance between charm, flavor and power. Domaine Durieu is planted with Rousanne and Grenache Blanc for the whites and the traditional Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah and Counoise for the reds. The domaine's vines average more than 40 years of age, with most of the Grenache coming from vines in excess of 80 years of age. A very large portion of this estate's vineyards once belonged to the Archbishops of Avignon, an area from Pred de Baud to Bois Lauzon, between Carbrieres and Farguerol. These vineyards reflect the classic soil of the Rhone's best "terroir" - rolled pebbles and large, flat stones known as galets. All of Domaine Durieu's vineyards are hand harvested. Domaine Durieu's vinification is in the classic style. Crushing is followed by a long fermentation of 15-21 days, while aging is done in large traditional oak casks called "foudres" for a year or more. In short, this is the "real McCoy" of the Rhone.
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