2007 Domaine de la Citadelle Les Artemes Cotes du Luberon
It was a tough call. But it was just too good now not to push him. We were tasting the 2007 Les Artemes with Alexis Rousset-Rouard at Domaine de la Citadelle, the amazing estate made up of a patchwork quilt of perfectly situated hillside vineyards in Menerbes. What's most fascinating about these rich, beautifully chiseled wines has been not only their primary fruit delight, but their remarkable ageworthiness. We have a collection of Citadelle "Gouverneurs" in our cellar, and at the moment it's the 1999 that's really showing off.
But the 2007s are something else. Yes, they benefited perhaps as much as any wines in the south -- due to the cooler microclimate and the healthy dose of Mourvedre -- from this monumental vintage. The Artemes was very deep in color, and had that benchmark Citadelle finish, speaking to a decade of cellaring. But this time, the gorgeous, dense, sweet-fruit character was just too much to pass up. We weren't tasting the 2007 Artemes. We were drinking it.
"We'll release the 2007 Artemes in late 2010," Alexis said, almost as an aside. 2010? Right, this one may be the best wine from the best vintage we've ever tasted at Citadelle. Surely a wine that will match that Gouverneurs '99 in a long distance race. But by 2010, this unbelievable primary fruit freshness -- like a delicious spoonful of raspberry/cassis sorbet -- will be gone. And no one will have ever known what we were drinking. So we pushed the issue.
"Alexis, we want this now."
He laughed. "Now? This wine will be great in a decade, why do you want it now?"
"Sure it will, but it's too good now. Why don't we let our customers decide when they want to drink it?"
We're not sure if was our logic or the wonderful dinner under the awning at L'Estellan in Gordes that turned the tide, but by the end of the evening, we had what we wanted: the only 200 cases of 2007 Artemes that will be released in the world before the fall of 2010.
Tasting Notes from the WineAccess Travel Log
Domaine de la Citadelle
"Deep purple color. Explosive aromas of red fruits, cassis, underbrush. Deep, rich, explosive and chewy on the palate with layers and layers of red fruit intensity. Fine and beautifully chiseled on the finish, providing wonderful, lively balance to the concentration. Built to age. Drink now for its primary fruit flavors or age for a decade."