Ever since their wines were first introduced to the top sommeliers in France, Julien Zernott and Delphine Rousseau have enjoyed a fairy-tale 3-star Michelin Guide Ride. What did the wine guys at Michel Bras, Robuchon and L'Astrance see before even we did?
Pas de L'Escalette epitomizes what's most enchanting about the best young estates in France: wild-eyed passion, improbable setting, and an absolutely manic drive to extract the essence of the soil into the wines. It's that passion that has provided the skyrocketing notoriety of Zernott's brilliant red wines, landing this "Clapas" on the wine list of arguably the greatest restaurants in the world: Michel Bras in Laguiole, Robuchon and L'Astrance in Paris.
What makes the 2007 "Clapas" sing with the 3-star subtlety chez Bras? Part of it is the superb concentration of the old-vine Grenache, Cinsault, and Carignan, coupled with wonderful, bright, high-pitched red fruit aromas. But what really sets Zernott's wine apart is how he infuses this ancient, remote place into the wine. The soil here is pure limestone, and as the old vines spider meters underground, searching out precious water reserves, they pick up the place, offering a wine of opulence but unusually low pH (firm acidity). That balance is what a table chez Bras is all about.
Julien and Delphine first discovered the old vines on this small 10-hectare property almost a decade ago. Most amazing was the way the terraced vines zigzagged up the ancient hillsides, as well as the "Clapas" -- hand-made walls of dry stones that surround the terraces. The place may be rugged, but this wine is rich, sleek and incredibly refined.
Domaine du Pas de l'Escalette
Tasting Notes from the WineAccess Travel Log
"Bright, deep ruby color. Explosive aromas of red fruit, garrigue, herbes de Provence and violets. Bright and rich on the palate with surprising "northern" lift, a wine that seems to be one part southern Rhone, another Cote Rotie. Fresh, ripe tannins giving way to a long, vibrant finish. Drink now for its aromatic energy or age for up to seven years."