Blogging the Blending – Sunday 22 January 2012 (no blending)

Domaine de l’Edre – The Boys are Better than All Right

Domaine de l’Edre is a garage in Vingrau. Jacques Castany was born and lives in the house above the garage. His wife was born a few houses down. He’s a dispatcher for a bus company in the unreal world.

Pascal Dieunidou was born in a village 100 miles away. He’s married to a Vingrau girl, lives across the street. Pascal is head of IT in Languedoc for a huge bank. He’s relinquished some tasks so that Microsoft doesn’t keep sending him to Seattle to sell him software while he’s trying to prune his vineyard. Pascal has priorities.

There’s a white wine. We don’t import it. The entry level red (2000 6-packs a year) is ‘Carrement’ rouge. The Mourvedre they planted a few years ago now figures into this. l’Edre is the flagship, 1000 barrel-fermented 6-packs of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan a year. Both wines closely mimic the black fruit and intense minerality of great Priorat. They are not cheap at ~$35 retail (Carrement) and ~$60 (l’Edre), but comparable Priorats sell for double or more. ’09, and ’10 are excellent vintages. ’11 may be better, but IMO ’08 and ’05 were the best ever.

Jeff Carrel is not in Paris any more
HPS deals with Estate growers, Cooperatives, negociants and one flying (peripatetic, intinerant) winemaker.

Jeff Carrel was born in Paris where his father and grandfather were Real Estate lawyers. After his Bachelor’s degree, Jeff dutifully applied to the Sorbonne law school. He also mischievously applied to the Montpellier wine school (without telling the family). Accepted at both, he went to Montpellier.

At Montpellier, he decided that cool climate Languedoc wines would be his career. To prepare, he worked two years each in Alsace and the Loire. Jeff came back convinced that Cabernet Franc would do better in Languedoc than Merlot or Cab Sauv. He convinced some growers to plant it. The result is one of our best and best-selling wines: Puydeval. It’s a blend of 60% Cab Franc, 30% Syrah and 10% Merlot, lightly but lavishly oak-aged for a year in mostly American, mostly 2 – 5 year old barrels.

Jeff has a wide variety of other wines, some of which sell amazingly well, some of which are too bizarre even for us, much less our customers. Villa des Anges Cabernet Sauvignon is simply the biggest bang for the buck in Cab Sauv… from anywhere. The old vine Cinsault Rose from this property is another huge success, with the Merlot coming up quickly. The moderately priced textbook Languedoc ‘Les Darons’ and the bold and beautiful Valauclair wines are new and already well-received. We refuse to import Jeff’s intentionally oxidized barrel-aged Chardonnay.

As in most of Mediterranean France, 2009 is a good (not great), very warm vintage. The 2010s are marvels of massive balance. The 2011s are simply pleasure bombs of moderately rich body, heartbreakingly pure fruit and amazing harmony and balance.


About Dan Kravitz

I am the CEO (Chief Enological Orator) of Hand Picked Selections, a certified wine geek and a foodie and locavore since before the words were invented.
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