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stirring the lees with james molesworth archive

Photo by: David Yellen
James Molesworth

July 2017

The Queen of Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Isabel Ferrando of Domaine St.-Préfert has been a model of quality and consistency
Posted: Jul 21, 2017 10:50am ET
Some domaines make my job easy. Maybe they make a tweak here and there, or pick up a new parcel of vines, but otherwise they stay the course, hitting a high-quality threshold year-in and year-out. When they're run by good people, it's that much easier. Ferrando's Domaine St.-Préfert is one of those.
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Henri Bonneau & Fils in Transition
Henri Bonneau's son Marcel takes the reins in the wake of his father's death
Posted: Jul 20, 2017 12:40pm ET
When family domaines transition, no matter how smoothly planned, there is nonetheless a period of readjustment. When that transition is sudden or forced, either through a sale or unexpected death, it's that much more disruptive. The latest mythic estate to face this transition is Henri Bonneau & Fils, following the legendary vigneron's sudden passing last year.
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The First Family of the Southern Rhône
Château de Beaucastel stars in Famille Perrin's 2016 vintage lineup
Posted: Jul 18, 2017 4:20pm ET

Châteauneuf's Good Ol' Boys
Domaine de Beaurenard's Coulon brothers have reinforcements waiting in the wings
Posted: Jul 17, 2017 2:20pm ET
Among my more regular stop I make when in the Southern Rhône is Domaine de Beaurenard, the dynamic and progressive Châteauneuf-du-Pape estate run by the brothers Frédéric and Daniel Coulon. Here are my notes on the 2016 vintage here.
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Where Eagles Dare
Pierre Amadieu has vines with a view in Gigondas, and wines to match
Posted: Jul 13, 2017 5:24pm ET
Pierre Amadieu's tasting room sits prominently on the road up into Gigondas. Fitting, since this family-owned estate is synonymous with Gigondas. An Amadieu planted the first few acres of vines around Gigondas in 1929. And in the mid-'50s and early '60s, Pierre's grandfather planted the bulk of the estate, tucked up on terraces against the Dentelles. Here are my notes on the 2016 cuvées here.
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Maybe Dad Was Right
Domaine Font de Michelle's Guillaume Gonnet returns to his father's style of elegant, perfumed Châteauneuf-du-Papes
Posted: Jul 12, 2017 3:24pm ET
On my most recent visit to Domaine Font de Michelle, Guillaume Gonnet was just settling in, taking over from his father, Michel, at this domaine in Bedarrides. Gonnet, just 36, is among Châteauneuf-du-Pape's young generation of leading vignerons.
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The New Guy in the Southern Rhône
Winemaker Ralph Garcin is in at Château La Nerthe in Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Posted: Jul 11, 2017 2:44pm ET
Ralph Garcin, 42, is the new guy in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The winemaker has taken over at Château La Nerthe at the end of 2015, with 2016 his first full vintage. He's diving in and making some changes at this large and prominent estate. Here are my notes on the exciting young vintage here.
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Learning Through Experience at Domaine La Barroche
A first look at Julien Barrot's 2016 vintage, and his new cellar
Posted: Jul 10, 2017 5:04pm ET
Julien Barrot is still one of the young guns in town. At 37, he's got another generation of vintages to look forward to. But he's also got enough vintages under his belt to has some perspective now as well - he started in 2002. There's a subtle shift in style here, coinciding with Barrot moving into a brand-new cellar facility in time for the 2015 vintage. Today I got a preview of the exciting 2016s.
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Le Vieux Donjon: The Next Generation
This family estate is under new management, and its track record for excellence is in good hands
Posted: Jul 7, 2017 12:10pm ET

The Michel siblings, Claire Fabre, 34, and her brother François Michel, 28, have taken the reins at Le Vieux Donjon from their father, Lucien, who piloted this estate to one of the most consistent track records in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

With their parents officially retired, the kids opened up a new tasting room and winery facility in 2013, on the road to Courthézon, just as you leave Châteauneuf. "So my parents have some quiet now in their home," says François. "But of course, they still keep an eye over our shoulders."

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Domaine de la Vieille Julienne's Châteauneuf-du-Pape Star Brightens
The 2015 vintage here reflects a philosophical shift
Posted: Jul 6, 2017 2:10pm ET
When I arrived here at Domaine de la Vieille Julienne in Châteaeuneuf-du-Pape, Jean-Paul Daumen was excited about his newest vineyard acquisition. But the more immediate excitement here is in the bottle. More specifically, the 2015 vintage. Here are my notes.
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Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes at Domaine de la Vieille Julienne
This longtime Châteauneuf-du-Pape star is growing
Posted: Jul 5, 2017 3:10pm ET
After a period of being seemingly locked in at Domaine de la Vielle Julienne, Jean-Paul Daumen, one of Châteauneuf-du-Pape's elder statesmen, quietly changed. A lot. Like his fellow vintners at Domaine Giraud, Daumen works a bit out of the spotlight, but the wines are clearly among the appellation's elite. These are also some of the most ageworthy wines in the AOC, always showing considerably younger than many of their peers when I taste retrospectives of older vintages.
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