2019 Patrick Lesec Galets Blonds Châteauneuf-du-Pape
We can’t believe it’s July already…and what better way to celebrate Christmas in July (if you’re that way inclined) than with a wine from the holy see itself – meaning holy seat…or throne as it were (back in the day). This month, we’re taking you to France’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape, with a very small French producer, Patrick Lesec’s 2019 ‘Galets Blonds’, translating to blond pebbles – which are very common in the soils of the Rhone Valley.
The name ‘Châteauneuf-du-Pape’ dates back to the "Avignon Papacy", when Pope Clement V, moved the papal court to Avignon in order to escape the riots in Rome. The region sits towards the bottom of the Rhône Valley, close to the border of Provence. The name means “pope's new castle,” and the two crossed keys blown onto the chest of the wine bottle represents the "keys to the Kingdom”.
Ensuring the wines from the region are incredibly distinctive, and still, to this day are one of the most well-known and exclusive wines in the world. Making this month’s wine an incredibly special one for us to share with you!
"I can’t speak highly enough of the job that Patrick Lesec does as a negociant, putting together interesting and high-quality blends of Cotes du Rhones and Châteauneuf du Papes. He seems to have a talent for finding top quality sources for old vine grenache, and his philosophy of bringing wines up is one of minimal intervention in a reductive environment with little exposure to oxygen.” – The Wine Advocate
A sensational ruby colour, bright and alluring.
Carbonic maceration is a form of whole-bunch fermentation, when whole bunches of uncrushed grapes are fermented, with little to no crushing, or breaking of the grape skins. One of the main advantages of ‘carbonic’ is that it produces wines that are lower in tannin, and fruit-forward. Lesec’s natural tendency for a hands-off approach, with as little ‘tampering’ as possible, sees this '19 'Galets Blonds' showing hints of carbonic, with a silkiness to the tannins, and bright, juicy black cherry notes to boot!
A sensational ruby colour, bright and alluring. The wine brings ripe black cherry, pomegranate, and a gentle dried herb spice aroma. Hints of rosemary, black pepper and tobacco extend past the initial fruit-forward palate, to finish. An already delicately silky wine, the high natural acidity will ensure this wine will age for a further 5+ years easily. It’s best to decant for 30+ minutes prior to your drinking enjoyment – for the ultimate drinkability and elegance.
Vines in some of the best terroir in the Chateauneuf du Pape appellation
Patrick Lesec began his grape hunting a.k.a Negociant Company, back in 1993. He has long term contracts with premium producers and growers with vines in some of the best terroir in the Chateauneuf du Pape appellation, including that of La Crau, Valori, Le Cristia and Palestor – just to name a few. All of the wines produced are grenache-dominant blends. Some of the vines from which Patrick sources are very old and include certain parcels from vines that are more than 100 years of age.
As part of this philosophy, Patrick makes great efforts to search out the finest terroirs, the best soils with old vineyards – and thus the finest sources of grapes, in each appellation. This Châteauneuf-du-Pape is produced from a blend of grenache, syrah and mourvèdre grapes and comes from old, low-yielding vines grown on sparse, boulder-covered soils.
"I always love this cuvée from Lesec, and the 2019 Châteauneuf Du Pape Galets Blonds looks to be another fine effort. Pretty red currants, blackberries, bouquet garni, and candied violet notes give way to a medium to full-bodied, elegant Châteauneuf du Pape that has a terrific sense of freshness, ripe yet present tannins, and a great finish. It’s well worth seeking out." – Jeb Dunnuck
You too can woo your guests with all of the du-Pape trivia. Whilst you’re decanting the 2019 ‘Galets Blond’, make sure you drop these fast-facts into conversation.
- The soil for the region is very unique to the Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Derived from a layer of stones known as galets roulés (pebble rock). The rocks are usually quartzite and the remains of Alpine glaciers that have been smoothed over millennia by the Rhone.
- Why are Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines typically so exxy?? The vineyard maintenance is critical for the regions very old vines. They are also not allowed to grow very tall, in order to protect them from the wind and other seasonal damage. The cost of maintaining the steep-sloped vineyards is substantial, and thus factored into the price of a bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine.
- One of the things that makes Châteauneuf-du-Pape so special is the fact that it was the first region to introduce the idea of “appellations”. Which we now know to be a legally defined and protected geographical indication (GI) used to identify where the grapes for a wine were grown. And now must be on the label of all wines.
- Châteauneuf-du-Pape is famous for powerful, full-bodied red wine blends. Largely made from the classic southern Rhône ‘holy trinity’ grape trio of grenache, syrah/shiaz and mourvèdre. The ‘Holy Trinity’ grape varieties make up close to 90 percent of vineyards planted in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
- Châteauneuf-du-Pape it is also the only place in the world where UFO flights are officially banned. You’re welcome.
Food and wine, the language of love.
What is best to eat when sharing this wine with friends? This GSM is best paired with game meats, or main dishes where red meat is featured. Heavily seasoned poultry dishes, spicy and/or fragrantly herbed dishes. This wine also never fails to amaze when paired with seasoned/herbed goat cheeses.