2009 Domaines Viticoles Renouard Les Terrasses d'’Hortense VDP Coteaux Flaviens
 
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Hortense A Firecracker in La Petite Camargue

If you're the owner of Château Petrus, Haut-Brion, Romanée-Conti or Château Beaucastel, you expect to find your name on the top wine lists in France. But if you're a consulting enologist who, on a lark, assembles a plush, red fruit blend off a cobblestone moonscape so common to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, you have no such expectations.

Maybe that's why Stéphane Beuret still can't believe that the wine he named after his three-year-old daughter, Hortense, has quickly become the hottest little red wine in Paris.

We met Stéphane near his grandparents' home on the Île de Ré a few weeks ago. Tall and lean, with an angular face and darting eyes, Beuret first described the conception of this exquisitely plush, high-toned blend of sustainably farmed Syrah, Grenache and Carignan. Then, Beuret's voice seemed to go up an octave as he spoke of the cork that first popped at Frédéric Anton's Le Pré Catalan, before moving on to Alain Passard's L'Arpège. "I always knew that word travels fast in the sommelier world," Stéphane ranted. "But I never knew it could travel that fast." Before Beuret knew what was happening, his cell phone was ringing. By the time the dust settled, the 2009 Terrasses d'Hortense would find its way onto the wine lists and bars of sixteen 2- and 3-star palaces. Here's why.

2 and 3 star Michelin RatingsFive years ago, you'd wait a couple months to get a weeknight table at any of Paris's Michelin 3-star restaurants. But now, with the French economy reeling, the Michelin stars are importing much of their clientele, with most tables speaking languages other than French. As to the regulars, the locals, more and more have turned to wine list bargain hunting, having tired of $600 dinners for two. When Beuret showed up at Le Pré Catelan with this simply packaged, cautiously priced blend, the sommelier pulled the cork, poured, smelled and sipped. Then, he placed an order that would set "Les Terrasses" off like a Bastille Day firecracker.

Farmed from thirty-year-old vines in the horse country of La Petite Camargue, some thirty kilometers south of Nîmes, afternoon breezes off the Mediterranean help temper this sun-drenched quadrant of France. The entire 1,500-case production of the 2009 "Les Terrasses d'Hortense" was drawn off just thirteen hand-tended, hand-harvested acres, all strewn with classic Châteauneuf-du-Pape galets roulés, those cobblestones helping to regulate temperature in the vines.

But it may well be Beuret's renowned cellar protocol that so tipped the balance with the Parisien somms. Picked at optimum ripeness while still harboring fine natural acidity, the Syrah, Carignan and Grenache are vinified separately in cement tanks before being assembled and transferred to one- and two-year-old barrels, all purchased from Vega Sicilia (another Beuret client). After two full years in barrel, with minimum racking so as to preserve freshness and vitality, the 2009 "Les Terrasses d'Hortense" was bottled. A year later, it would make its cameo appearance on the wine lists of Le Pré Catelan, Arpège, Michel Rostang, and La Bigarrade!

Brilliant dark ruby to the rim, with luscious aromas of crushed red fruits, black raspberry and new wood vanilla. Rich, juicy and vibrant on the attack, with unusual depth and complexity for a wine of its price, the finish is both supple and refreshing, a perfect accompaniment to both 3-star cuisine and almost anything off the BBQ.



Tasting Notes

2009 Domaines Viticoles Renouard Les Terrasses d’'Hortense VDP Coteaux Flaviens
"Brilliant dark ruby to the rim, with luscious aromas of crushed red fruits, black raspberry and new wood vanilla. Rich, juicy and vibrant on the attack, with unusual depth and complexity for at wine of its price, the finish is both supple and refreshing, a perfect accompaniment to both 3-star cuisine and almost anything off the BBQ. Drink now for its forward fruit opulence, or don't be afraid to lay this one down for 3-5 years. It could use the rest."
-- WineAccess Travel Log


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    • This is a Pre-Arrival Offer: Weather permitting, wine will begin shipping upon arrival, in September, 2013.

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