I had not heard of Domaine Saint Jean du Barroux until recently; a winery located between the Dentelles de Montmirail and Mont Ventoux in the Southern Rhone, owned by Oenologist, winemaker/grower, Philippe Gimel. A tiny vineyard with 4 of 16 hectares covered with fruit trees and shrubbery. The remaining 12 hectares of vineyards are planted along an eroded fault line making a complex geology and terroir. Philippe uses organic and biodynamic methods to grow the grapes and produce his wine. He is very picky about his grapes; his grape yields are under one tonne per acre. For most wineries, from what I understand, minimum economics for wine production is two tonnes per acre.
Domaine Saint Jean du Barroux l’Argile 2010 Review
The 2010 L’Argile is a blend of 75% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 5% Carignan and 5% Cinsault, fermented in concrete vats. The French word, Argile, I believe translates to Argillite, is a sedimentary rock composed largely of clay minerals, that absorbs water. So to me, this wine comes from a part of the vineyard that is composed of this type of rock. What type of wine does it produce?
This wine was a deep, dull, garnet in colour. Medium intensity nose, a bit restrained, with ripe cassis, red cherry, and some dustiness. With 2 hrs of decanting I detected raspberries, red apples, and a whiff of violets. It was much prettier with decanting. Dry, with medium acidity, tannins and body. Medium plus mouth feel, fairly round, with tannins picking up from mid to finish. Restrained fruit covering juicy cassis, raspberry, red cherry, and red plums. With decanting I would add red apple flavour. Medium plus length with some McIntosh apple, nutmeg and pepper on the finish. The tannins get stronger toward the finish, but are not overpowering. The tannins give just enough structure to the wine. A very balanced wine. I did continue to sip this wine after the 2hrs and it just became smoother and the fruit became more prominent.
I tried this wine with some Boursin cranberry & pepper cheese on Martin’s Marvelous Naturals Date and Olive Tapenade Crisps, and it paired wonderfully. I like the darker flavour of the dates with the wine, bringing out the dark fruit from the wine, while the tang and tartness from the cheese added a nice contrast to the fruit.