wa2.gif (4241 bytes)

abut9.gif (3095 bytes)

abut12.gif (3207 bytes)
abut10.gif (3636 bytes)

abut11.gif (4039 bytes)


The wines of Domaine Gramenon, Côtes du Rhône, France

Domaine Gramenon,  26770 Montbrison-sur-Lez, France
Tel: 04 75 53 57 08

Located at the northern end of the Southern Rhône region, Gramenon is a little unusual, in that it makes high-end wines from vineyards that bear no more than the lowly appellation of Côtes du Rhône. The domaine was set up by Phillipe and Michelle Aubery-Laurent (right) in 1990 and quickly made a reputation for its concentrated, complex wines from very ripe grapes, which come mainly from old vines. Phillipe died in an accident in 1999, but Michelle has continued with the domaine. 

I taste a lot of wines, and it’s not all that often that I’m blown away by a producer’s range, but this happened here. While these wines are certainly head-turners, with their ripe, dense fruit, they avoid being overblown or jammy. They’re ripe, but not overly so. It must be something about the old vines, or the soils that they are grown in, that makes it possible to produce wines with this intensely ripe flavour profile but which are still complex and in balance. The Poignee de Raisin is utterly joyful: I can’t think of an occasion where I wouldn’t enjoy this wine. The Sierra du Sud is the essence of warm climate Syrah, and both La Segesse and Ceps Centenaires manage to capture Grenache at its best, showing just why some consider it to be the Pinot Noir of the south.

Gramenon wines are made in a pretty natural way, with sulphur dioxide used just at assemblage. Perhaps this is one of the keys to their purity of fruit; then again, it could make them a bit of a risky proposition. My view is that you really are better off drinking these wines young rather than taking a gamble on them in the cellar. I say this for two reasons: first, they’re so delicious now it’s hard to keep them, and second because the low sulfur regime might lead to unpredictable ageing trajectories. That’s not to say they are incapable of ageing, of course.

Domaine Gramenon Vie on y Est 2006
A varietal Viognier.
Perfumed, open, peachy and rich with nice texture in the mouth and lots of character. Lovely. Very good/excellent 90/100

Domaine Gramenon Poignee de Raisin 2006
This affordable red is made for early drinking, fermented without any sulphur dioxide (and just 15 ppm free SO2 at bottling), and bottled unfiltered, this is a joyful wine. It’s made in cement tanks, with half of the grapes destemmed. The smooth, sweet open nose is rounded and elegant. The palate is juicy and smooth with a bit of pepper and meatiness to complement the ripe fruit. Lovely bright stuff. Very good+ 88/100

Domaine Gramenon Sierra du Sud 2006
100% Syrah, half aged for seven months in old oak. Very deep coloured. Lovely bright perfumed nose has a bit of meatiness along with super-smooth sweet fruit. The palate is vivid and spicy with good structure and a dense, meaty richness. Quite a rich wine. Very good/excellent 93/100

Domaine Gramenon La Sagesse 2006
100% Grenache, half aged in old oak, and with no sulfur additions. Smooth, open sweet elegant nose is very pure. The palate is smooth with silky tannins. Lovely purity, elegance and spicy structure. Very good/excellent 94/100

Domaine Gramenon Ceps Centenaires La Mémé 2005
100 year old Grenache vines are the source of this wine, which is fermented with stems and aged without any sulfur dioxide additions. Pure, perfumed elegant nose shows aromatic sweet red fruits. The palate is concentrated, pure and lush, showing great concentration and smooth spicy structure. Thrilling. Excellent 95/100

UK availability: these wines were tasted at an event organized by Les Caves de Pyrene (www.lescaves.co.uk); H&H Bancroft are also stockists.

Wines tasted 04/07
Find these wines with wine-searcher.com

Back to top