2007 Domaine des Escaravailles Les Hautes des Granges Roaix Cotes du Rhone

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2007 Domaine des Escaravailles Les Hautes des Granges Roaix Cotes du Rhone

$36.99 Bottle
  • Cellar 4 - 5 years (2013-2014)
  • ABV 15%
  • Closure: Cork

The Australian wine industry owes much of its present success to Shiraz. DNA sequencing indicates that the variety is a descendant of two little known French grape varieties, Durela and Mondeuse Blanc, grown in the Rhone Valley in France's south east since 500 B.C. The Rhone Valley covers a vast area and it is not really a single region, but rather, two regions seperated by an almost 50 km vinefree stretch. Of its 15 appellations, eight in the north and seven in the south, it is the south which is home to most of the vines, making up the Côtes du Rhône and Côtes du Rhône Villages. This is also where the bulk of the region's enormous production takes place, second only to Bordeaux in France.

While Shiraz (Syrah) is synonymous with the Rhone's 'Hermitage' and 'Cote Rotie' wines, today amongst the region's most famous (and expensive) reds, it's far from the only varietal grown. In fact, in the Southern Rhone, Shiraz frequently plays second fiddle to other varieties such as Grenache, Cinsault or Mourvèdre. In all, twenty three varieties are permitted throughout the entire Rhone Appellation (though generally no more than ten are typically used in the red blends). Whilst this causes confusion for the average wine lover, it's actually part of what makes Cotes du Rhone wines so consistently enjoyable and nearly always well-priced, especially those from the south. In the best examples, Shiraz or Grenache becomes the basis of beautifully balanced, exuberant wines, which in certain years could be mistaken for having come from Australia. These characteristics are certainly true of the 2007 vintage in the South, which is considered one of the most remarkable to have hit the market in recent decades. Village after village seems to have managed more consistent and more powerful wines than any vintage in recent memory. It's also a year in which several small producers have risen to the fore, capturing the wine world's attention. Amongst these is a third generation family winery, 'Domaine des Escaravailles' about whom noted American wine writer, Robert Parker, has recently enthused "...Readers should be on the lookout for the wines from this superb estate... Proprietor Gilles Ferran owns some sensational old vines spread among his 160+ acres in the Cotes du Rhone and the Cotes du Rhone-Villages of Rasteau, Cairanne, and Roaix. Yields are low, with most of the vineyards rendering less than 30 hectoliters per hectare. The 2007s are the finest wines yet..."
Part of the sudden success of Domaines Des Escaravailles is due to the input of French enologist, Philippe Cambie [pictured right]. As well as acting as a consultant winemaker for other Southern Rhone estates like Domaine Grand Nicolet (previously shipped by Nicks Wine Merchants), Gambie also consults to many of the top wines in Chateauneuf du Pape, including Pegau and Vieux Donjon. In 1999, two generations at Escaravailles were in conflict: Jean Ferran was at odds with his father, Jean-Louis Ferran, who established the estate in 1953. Jean the younger was convinced that the way forward was to produce riper, more powerful wines. His father was not so certain. Enter Cambie: a huge man, with an amazing ability to re-invigorate estates stagnating in 'tradition'. Like McLaren Vale's Ben Riggs, Cambie is concerned with capturing ripe, juicy fruit flavours. In the vineyard, he was quick to advise Ferran, "Pick later. Pick only perfectly ripe grapes. Drop fruit. Sort again in the cellar to make sure only the cleanest, ripest fruit makes it into the fermenter". At first, Ferran the elder thought this was hardly the way to maintain a viable operation. Cambie was probably a bit mad. However, since 2003, when Escaravailles put out some phenomenal wines in a heatwave vintage, the estate has been steadily rising the Rhone ranks to become recognised as one of the very top producers of Rasteau and Cairanne. Cambie reflects his southern hemisphere counterpart in another respect - both he and Riggs possess an incredible ability to visualize final blends while tasting dozens of barrel samples. “In the cellar,” Jean Ferran comments, “Philippe is a magician.” Combining the exceptional 2007 vintage conditions with Cambie's genius, Ferran has pushed the wines at Domaine des Escaravailles to a new summit. And finally, Jean-Louis Ferran concedes he has absolutely nothing to feel aggrieved about. Robert Parker on the 2007 Southern Rhone Vintage Conditions: "In my thirty years of evaluating these wines, I don’t think any vintage has achieved the heights of complexity, richness, and overall purity and balance that 2007 did... Combine that with the modest yields and the drought-like conditions, and the concentration is also there... Given the global economic crises, these wines, which have never been prized for speculative value, represent fabulous bargains for shrewd consumers looking for delicious wines to drink today..." - The Wine Advocate Following Parker's lead, we called for samples and the stand outs from our own tasting, which focus on cuvees of varying proportions of Shiraz, Grenache & Carignan, were selected for shipment to Australia in a refrigerated container due to arrive in September 2009.
Tasting Notes: This wine is made from a blend of 100% Syrah (Shiraz), produced from 60 year old vines. Opaque black purple colour with mauve purple hue. Superb lifted nose of dark chocolate, spice, mocha and raspberry with a “Cherry Ripe” chocolate bar end note. Mouthfilling palate, with flavours of liquorice, raspberry, spice and black pepper. Excellent weight and length with overtones of mocha and dark chocolate. Very spicy back palate. Fine grained, balanced tannins. Very long aftertaste of black pepper, raspberry and liquorice. A superb Hermitage styled Syrah without the Hermitage price tag.
Cellar 4-5 years (2013-2014)
Alc/Vol:15% Other Reviews...
The 2007 Cotes du Rhone-Villages Roaix Les Hautes Granges (100% Syrah) is aged in 100% small oak casks. Normally, Syrah from the southern Rhone does not fare all that well on its own, but this is an exception to the rule. Sweet aromas of black truffles, camphor, blackberries, and cassis jump from the glass of this inky/purple-colored 2007. The new oak component is largely concealed behind a wealth of fruit and glycerin. This fleshy, rich offering behaves like a Hermitage from the northern Rhone. Drink it over the next 5-7 years.
90-92 points.
Robert Parker, The WIne Advocate #181, Feb 2009