2011 Les Vignes de l'Aire Effet Papillon Cotes du Roussillon Rouge
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Marjorie and Stephane Gallet Magic Wands and 3-Star Michelin Pixie Dust

How did she do it? Was it the pixie dust? A magic wand? Or maybe just the charming smile and self-effacing blush after the surprisingly forceful handshake? How was it that, less than ten years after setting up shop in a place none of her enologist friends had ever heard of, Marjorie Gallet's entire Roc des Anges production would disappear in a Roussillon nanosecond, a chunk of which was ticketed for Paris's Michelin 3-stars? And how did that short 2010 crop give birth to what many believe is the most exciting bargain red in France? Let's go back 18 months … to our first -- and only -- 'day off' in Paris.

It was a gray day on the Rue de Bourgogne, late in the fall of 2010, and we barely knew what to do with ourselves. We'd written our daily missive two days in advance, and finally, three years after we started this gig, there was nothing on the calendar. We tried reading Gide's Counterfeiters. That worked for a while, but we grew tired of all the literary eavesdropping. So, we shifted to LA Confidential, James Ellroy's rat-a-tat-tat detective novel. That kept us occupied well past noon. We switched to Le Monde Diplomatique, but just couldn't focus. So, we gave up, climbed back up to our double room, dressed as well as we can, then walked over to the Musee Rodin. At 2pm we hailed a cab for the 7th arrondissement. We pulled open the door at Guy Savoy just as lunch was winding down.

The next stop would be Le Pre Catalan, before circling back and somehow sneaking into Le Crillon at 4pm, where two double espressos set us back 30 bucks. Masquerading as business types, armed with expense accounts that wouldn't blink at those jaw dropping 3-star price tags, we first perused the menus, before poaching copies of the greatest wine lists in town.

Our studies began with grower Champagnes, with particular attention paid to selections from the red grape hills of Bouzy. Then it was on to Burgundy -- to the familiarity of Roumier, Meo-Camuzet, Ramonet and Coche. The Bordeaux lists, of course, were dizzying -- pages of First Growths, big bottles and small, running back to 1961. But, in the end, after all that 4-digit eye candy, we'd come to Guy Savoy, Le Pre Catalan and Le Crillon not to reacquaint ourselves with the gaudiest wine names on the planet, but to uncover the country's youngest winemaking stars.

We sipped those 10-euro espressos, pulled fake Mont Blancs from inside coat pockets, and scribbled wine list entry names on scratch pads. But as our cabbies zigzagged along the Seine, taking us from one restaurant to the next, one estate kept reappearing. When we finally returned to our modest room on the Rue de Bourgogne, we went right for the MacBook Air and Googled Roc des Anges. We then made the call that would be answered by the woman whose smile, magic wand and pixie dust had catapulted her estate into Paris's 3-star limelight. Two days later, we hopped a shuttle to Perpignan, rented a bright cherry Peugeot 309 and wound our way through the rugged hills of the Roussillon to a place called Montner.

That day, as you may recall, Marjorie Gallet and her enologist husband, Stephane, treated us to a dizzying display of ancient vine power, a series of magnificent schist-infused, old vine Carignanes, culminating with the famed "1903" -- aptly named for the parcel first planted 109 years ago -- a bottle that had also charmed the Parisien sommelier intelligentsia.

It was on a November afternoon that Marjorie had garnered her 3-star wine list placements without even traveling to Paris. In lieu of the Gallets reaching out to the sommeliers, it was one Parisien sommelier who had tasted a bottle of Roc des Anges and then alerted another -- who told another and another. Then, it would be the sommeliers, mesmerized by the full throttle lavishness of these astonishing ancient vine reds, who made the pilgrimage to Montner -- just to meet la magicienne -- making off with just a few cases of Roc des Anges, and a light sprinkle of Roussillon pixie dust.

So what of this Effet Papillon 2011, Gallet's gorgeous red fruit beauty, infused with luscious, crunchy, almost sorbet-like crème-de-cassis juiciness, a bottle that speaks volumes to these windswept hillsides outside of Montner and the 200km/hour winds that cleanse these old vine Carignane clusters, nursing them to phenomenal small berry maturity? As every drop of the Roc des Anges 2010s flew out of the cellar, Stephane and Marjorie doubled down on 2011, for the first time putting out a bottle that has turned the bistros of Paris and New York on their ears.

Deep purple in color with gorgeous, high-toned cassis aromatics, beautifully cut, with signature Roc des Anges class and voluptuousness. Rich and darkly saturated with lavish currant/blackberry juiciness, all bracketed by marvelous windswept vibrancy, chiseled with ripe tannin framework. Absolutely delicious right out of the gate.

Tasting Notes

2011 Les Vignes de l'Aire Effet Papillon Cotes du Roussillon Rouge
"Deep ruby to the edge. Gorgeous, high-toned aromas of croquant ripe cassis. Rich and juicy on the attack, packed with dark currant/blackberry preserves, still marvelously fresh -- almost cassis sorbet-like -- bracketed by supple tannin vibrancy speaking volumes to these old vines, schist soils, 200km/hour windswept hillsides -- and the elegant winemaking touch of Marjorie Gallet."
-- WineAccess Travel Log

*Important Shipping Information
    • Orders will begin shipping the week of September 17, 2012.
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