projects the quality of an exceptional Chateauneuf-du-Pape, or top-shelf Cornas.
When we tasted Daniel Boulle’s “Le Cros” Côtes du Rhône, we had a sense of what Robert Parker was talking about when he wrote: “Rarely does a 100% Syrah cuvee from the Southern Rhône rock my boat.” That’s how the King had described the superb 2011 vintage. We knew that Parker has raved about Domaine Les Aphillanthes, “one of the leading southern Rhone estates for value,” but “rock my boat”? One sip of the 2014 Domaine Les Aphillanthes “Le Cros” and we too asked the winery representative for a moment to collect ourselves.
“Proprietor Daniel Boulle has done brilliant work over the last decade plus, and now works with the talented Philippe Cambie as his oenologist,” Parker raved. “The wines continue to go from strength to strength, including these less expensive offerings. If you haven’t familiarized yourself with Domaine Les Aphillanthes, it’s time to do so.” And we have. You should too.
What sets Domaine Les Aphillanthes apart is an incredibly unique situation in the vineyard: irrepressible vines that snake down through stony and sandy-loam soils to depths of 100 feet — the equivalent of a 10-story building! Most vines in the world only grow to depths of 10-25 feet.
Since 2007, proprietors Helene and Daniel Boulle have adhered to a strict biodynamic script. The Boulles’ insistence on biodynamic farming can be costly, given the constant attention and care required, but their Côtes du Rhônes remain some of the best values on the market — especially given the pedigree of winemaking talent.
In 2004, the Boulles’ hired Philippe Cambie, who would be named “Winemaker of the Year” by Parker in 2010. Cambie has authored an incredible 25 wines that have earned 98-100 points from Parker — ELEVEN of which have reached the 100-point apex. His work in the southern Rhône has often been compared to that of Michel Rolland on Bordeaux’s Right Bank. Cambie’s contribution is yet another reason why Parker considers Domaine Les Aphillanthes “one of the finest estates in the southern Rhône for their selection of Côtes du Rhône-Villages.”
The 2014 Domaine Les Aphillanthes “Le Cros” is 100% Syrah and was bottled without fining or filtration. It projects the quality of an exceptional Chateauneuf-du-Pape, or top-shelf Cornas. Dark purple to the rim. Voluptuous aromas of blackberries, violets, plums and cherry compote, with licorice and tobacco spice. Ripe, full-bodied, with palate-coating youthful black- and blue-fruit preserves, whispers of dark chocolate and crème de cassis. Soft and supple tannins are buttressed by juicy yet firm acidity, while the finish is impressive, punctuated by concentrated layers of complex dark fruit, spice, and garrigue. It will dazzle now and for the next decade.
How does all this come together to yield a wine we can offer for ONLY $19.99? It’s enough of a mystery that you might want to book a trip to the Rhône Valley to see and speak with the Boulles just to believe. But prepare to take a seat. Or, stay where you are, and hit “Buy” for one of the greatest Côtes du Rhône finds EVER. Only 80 cases. Shipping included on 6. We live for days like this.
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