Avignon. Le Palais des Papes. Pope residency for almost 70 years during the 14th century. Popes’ Palace in 2013. Temporary residence for hundreds of southern Rhône wine producers for two days during the four day long Découvertes en Vallée du Rhône event. Entering the palace calls for a plan; not only is it impossible to taste all the thousands of wines, the architectural greatness easily distracts as well.
I had my mind set when entering; what to focus on, whom to interview. Never did I expect to become so overwhelmed by the historic air surrounding the palace. Never did I expect to find out just how many great wines there are in appellations as Lirac, Vacqueyras, Vinsobres, Visan and Rasteau. Sorry, Gigondas as well. And Tavel. And….add an invitation for lunch at the nearby La Mirande, a one star restaurant, to complete the day.
Here’s to the first day of four at the great Rhône event. My most memorable discoveries which all will receive lengthier articles later on.
Nicole Rolet at Chêne Bleu, served one of the best rosé I’ve had in years. Track down the 2012, it impresses. A lot.
Guy Ricard runs Domaine Le Couroulu in Vacqueyras. His foudres aged wines are real beauties, well-structured and one of today’s greatest discoveries.
The 2010 Le Couroulu Vieilles Vignes – one big wow.
Spectacular paté at La Mirande. Sorry Rhône but Billecart-Salmon to accompany.
At Domaine La Soumade. Rasteau at its best.
Baba au Rhum at La Mirande. Best one ever.
Vincent Moreau at Château de Ruth poured a magnificent pure Grenache, the 2010 Cuvée Emile. An elegant and classy Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
Lirac Master Class in the Popes’ Palace with Kelly Mc Auliffe. Theme? Lirac ages well! 2000 Chateau Saint-Roch Cuvée Confidentielle was the ultmate proof of it; best Lirac I’ve ever had and still it will keep for years!
Disclaimer: Invited by Inter Rhône to attend the Découvertes en Vallée du Rhône.