2017 Domaine des Gravennes Côtes-du-Rhône, Suze la Rousse, France
Wine of the Week with Annette Tomei
Côtes-du-Rhône reds remind me of snuggling in front of a fireplace. But, snuggling up with a delicious bottle of red wine doesn’t require being in front of a crackling fireplace. In fact, as I write this in the midst of a heatwave, I can’t recommend that at all! No need. The 2017 Domaine des Gravennes Côtes-du-Rhône is totally snuggle-worthy no matter the season.
The vineyards of Domaine des Gravennes – pronounced like doh-men–day-grahv-en – are located in the Southern Rhône. It is part of the overarching Côtes-du-Rhône AOP designation that includes reds, whites, and rosés. But the Southern Rhône is most known for its reds – often referred to as GSM blends. That’s Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre – a recipe that’s popular world-wide.
In this classic combination, Grenache brings the fruit, Syrah brings spice and structure, Mourvèdre brings intense color and aromatic density. In the south, Grenache takes the lead. In the Northern Rhône, Syrah reigns supreme. In the New World you’ll find the blend is a stylistic choice of the winemaker. Both the Central Coast of California and the Barossa Valley in Australia are well-known for their GSM blends.
Domaine des Gravennes
Domaine des Gravennes roughly translates to “stony place” in old French. It’s named for the abundance of flat stones called galets (or pudding stones). Gravennes is now in its fourth generation of family winemaking. They are certified organic and began implementing biodynamic practices in their vineyards over ten years ago. At this time, they are working on getting biodynamic labeling certification in the US.
My Review of 2017 Domaine des Gravennes Côte-du-Rhône
The 2017 Domaine des Gravennes rouge is a blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 10% Mourvèdre. The 2017 vintage was challenging for much of France, but somehow it managed to be a good one for the Rhône Valley. This benefits the balance and structure of this wine.
Bright ruby in color with aromas of dark cherry, ripe raspberry, freshly ground black pepper, and baking spices. The Domaine des Gravennes Côtes-du-Rhône had my full attention.
On the palate, those spicy ripe berries and cherries are joined by tangy sweet plum and tart, mildly astringent cranberry juice. It was like drinking fresh pressed juices. Only better, because these were fermented and aged in large format, mostly neutral oak barrels for a year.
Like all good Old-World style wines, the Domaine des Gravennes Côtes-du-Rhône is even better with the right food. The easy answer is red meat, especially lamb. But I didn’t take the easy route. I took the vegan route – and it was, indeed, easy.
Legumes, when cooked with warming spices and caramelized onions provide the perfect platform. They are a great alternative to lamb in pairings. I prepared Madras-style lentils over brown rice. For kick, I added some slivered spicy mango pickles (the kind you get in Indian restaurants).
For an alternative, and equally delicious, vegan pairing, try our Cashew and Squash Daal. For the meat lovers, these lamb skewers with blackberry quinoa salad will be a hit – the spices and the flavor of the lamb and the fruity blackberries bring out different aspects of the wine.
Where to buy 2017 Domaine des Gravennes Côtes-du-Rhône
At the time I’m writing, the 2017 vintage of Domaine des Gravennes Côtes-du-Rhône is available online from Wine.com. The 2018 vintage is beginning to appear on the east coast of the US. However, note that they were two very different vintages and my notes may not match the new offering.
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