The Ventoux is a blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache, and a healthy 20% of low pH Mourvèdre (the Grenache and Mourvèdre were planted nearly a hundred years ago). A small component of the Syrah and the Mourvèdre was matured in barrels, with the balance in stainless steel tanks. Chocolate covered black cherries, crushed violets, bay leaves, and a cornucopia of sweet herbs and spices move in and out of the background as the nose evolves in the glass. On the palate the wine is languid, smooth, and relaxed, with juicy black fruit flavors that echo the nose, along with wonderful graphite mineral brightness. The aromatics and flavors gain weight over time in the glass, and the wine has a sleek, velvety finish.
About this wine producer: As the technical director and head enologist at “Laboratoire Avignon Oenologie Conseil,” Xavier Vignon is the consulting winemaker at more than 300 estates, including most of the best-known domaines in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In lieu of payment for his laboratory’s service, he sometimes accepts wine, which the micro-négociant company he established in 2002, “Xavier Vins,” uses to produce exceptional wines of the southern Rhône Valley. Originally a physical chemist, Xavier is particularly interested in how the spectrum of dissolved mineral salts in the groundwater of each vineyard, which varies from parcel to parcel, influences the expression of terroir in the grapes. “I’m a trained enologist,” he says. “I’ve examined wine down to the molecular level. Which, in the end, convinces me that what is most important are the vines, the depth of the roots, and the health and balance of the vineyard.”