2018 Domaine de Durban Beaumes-de-Venise Rouge, Rhone, France

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Domaine de Durban is a historic piece of land overlooking the village of Beaumes-de-Venise in the southern Rhône Valley of France. It was once the site of a Roman healing springs destination and has been a continuous working farm since the year 1159. Wine cultivation in the area started over millennia ago and ancient philosopher, Pliny the Elder, sang the praises of its famous Muscat. Indeed Domaine de Durban's Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise dessert wine is considered the finest of the appellation and can always be found on our store shelves. Jacques Leydier purchased the property in 1967 and his grandsons, Henri and Philippe, now run the domaine. They sustainably farm 55 acres of vines planted primarily to Muscat, Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and smaller quantities of Chardonnay and Viognier. The vineyards enjoy a cooler microclimate thanks to their high altitude in the shadow of the Dentelles de Montmirail Mountains and are protected from the intense winds of the Mistral by tall pine trees, all of which help retain the natural acidity of the grapes and provide for remarkable consistency year after year. The Beaumes-de-Venise Appellation is most renowned for its sweet Muscat wines, but it also churns out some incredible value reds like this 70% Grenache, 25% Syrah and 5% Mourvèdre. This particular blend is what we would call a baby ‘Châteauneuf-du-Pape’, not only because it offers the characteristic aromatics of violet, anise, dried thyme and sun-baked earth, but also considering it exhibits the concentration and complexity in the vein of such prestigious wines (at half the price!). Flavors of black cherry, cured olive and eucalyptus abound on the medium-bodied palate, while dusty tannins are balanced by a juicy and vibrant acidity. For all of you Côtes du Rhône loyalists, this is that with a bit more force; a wine to impress on a budget and one to serve alongside something savory and hearty like a braised leg of lamb with herb-marinated potatoes.

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