2007 Le Roc des Anges Segna de Cor Cotes du Roussillon
We had driven up from the Spain-France border, the Mediterranean behind us, on the southern side of the Forca Real Mountain. The wind had been howling -- close to 150 km/hour. Now, kicking the dirt at the foot of a 90 year-old head-trained Grenache plant at Stephane and Marjorie Gallet's Le Roc des Anges, we felt relatively protected. The Gallet's property, made up of over 30 different parcels of largely ancient vines, sits on the northern side of the mountain. The wind still blows, but with less intensity. The air is dry. It's tough country, and each old organically farmed vine seems to have a rugged story to tell. But we were at Le Roc des Anges because one of the top sommeliers in France had told us to search out the couple. The 2007 wine, just released, "is like nectar. If you want it," he cautioned, "don't waste any time. Word travels fast among French sommeliers."
In most ways the property seems a long way from Marjorie's roots in Cote Rotie. That's until you taste the wine. The Gallets have only been proprietors at Le Roc des Anges for seven years. The wines have been uniformly superb since the first release in 2001. But in 2007, there was a breakthrough. Was it savoir-faire? Was it what we and Parker have described as the best vintage in the Rhone and Roussillon in decades? Probably a mixture of both. But the results are in, and they're clear. The Gallets have indeed produced a fabulous 'nectar-like' old vine blend in 2007 -- a spectacularly rich, slick, sinewed wine that has only one fault. You drink it too fast. "Il n'y a pas de secret," Stephane told us. "There's no secret. Yes, we learned a lot with (Yves) Cuilleron and Gaillard in Cote Rotie when we worked there. We understand how to handle the grapes before fermentation. We understand the finesse required to make great wine in the cellar. But, you know, almost anyone would have made great wine here in 2007, if they just treated the earth as it should be treated and let the schiste take care of the rest."
Le Roc Des Agnes
Le Roc des Anges 2007 is purple. The aromatics are pure violets and cassis. The flavors are both lush and vibrant, showing primary fruit flavors of intense cassis and violet, but it's the schiste minerality that makes it so hard to put this wine down.
Grenache-based wines are outstanding with grilled foods, and this one is no exception. Try this with beef kabobs grilled with onion, pepper, zucchini and squash. Or pair with one of your favorite hard cheeses.