Beating the Heat in Sunny Provence
Sebastian Vicenti is one of the most talented young wine producers in the often-forgotten, sun-filled region of Provence's Côtes du Ventoux. His Domaine de Fondrèche makes both red and white wines that transcend the region's level of quality yet still sell for a song. While most of his wines should be drunk young, I suspect many of the bigger reds will age well.
2006 Côtes du Ventoux l'Eclat (white). A blend of roussanne, grenache, bourboulenc, and clairette fermented in the barrel, then kept in the tank until bottling. It offers crisp acidity as well as aromas of lemon oil intermixed with orange and nectarine juice. $20
2006 Côtes du Ventoux Nadal (red). This blend of grenache, syrah, and mourvèdre exhibits a dark ruby/purple color as well as a big, sweet kiss of kirsch liqueur intermixed with licorice, earth, and hints of pepper and lavender. Full-bodied, fleshy, and rich, it is ideal for drinking over the next four to five years. $27
2006 Côtes du Ventoux Persia (red). Made from 90% syrah and 10% mourvèdre, the inky/purple 2006 Persia displays crème de cassis and blackberry and oozes charm and succulence. It offers plenty of fruit up front as well as beautiful purity and freshness. $32
2006 Côtes du Ventoux Persia (white). This white wine releases plenty of rosewater scents along with honeysuckle and exotic tropical fruit notes. Medium- to full-bodied, it is best drunk in its first year of life. $32
2005 Côtes du Ventoux Il Etait Une Fois (red). This limited-production beauty is a blend of 80% grenache—the rest is syrah and mourvèdre—aged in 100% new oak. Dense ruby/purple with gorgeous black cherry and raspberry fruit, this wine boasts superb concentration, plenty of structure and tannin, and at least 10 to 15 years of aging potential. $37
Wines rated from 96-100 are extraordinary; 90-95, excellent; 80-89, above average to very good.