The Beaumes de Venise Grangeneuve 2016 is comprised of Grenache (50%), some of which comes from vines over 100 years old, with Syrah (30%) co-fermented with Viognier (10%) as in Côte Rôtie, and the balance made up of Carignan from ancient vines of indeterminate age. Vinification and ageing take place in large 15-year-old temperature-controlled oak vats. In the glass, the wine has a deep garnet, almost blue-purple color, with flashes of crimson at the edge. Aromas of baked blueberries, spiced plums, fresh peonies, and vanilla bean move in and out of the foreground as the nose develops in the glass, sometimes alternating with ripe Lambert cherries, kalamata olives, and lavender, all delicately seasoned with cardamom, nutmeg, and a faint suggestion of freshly ground black pepper. On the palate the wine is juicy, silky, and ripe, with a luscious core of warm black fruit that somehow bends into a cool and slightly smoky finish.
About this wine producer: Camille Wallut is an architect by training, and a second-generation vigneronne, who returned to take the reins of one of the most extraordinary estates in the southern Côtes-du-Rhône when her father retired in 1997. Her 13 hectares of vines are planted at an average altitude of 500 meters, in the shale and limestone foothills of the Dentelles de Montmirail above the village of Suzette. Some of the Grenache was planted more than eighty years ago. Included is a parcel lying on a Mistral-swept terrace at 620 meters, which is the highest vineyard in all the Côtes-du-Rhône. Because of the altitude, the temperature is much cooler at night than in the valley, so the grapes retain acidity, ripen more evenly, and form more complex aromas. A second benefit is that organic viticulture is much easier than down in the valley, because common valley vine diseases like mildew and grey rot, which often require aggressive chemical treatment, are rarely found at such high altitudes.