|Good timing. Got lucky. A couple of phrases that are used from time to time to describe a fortuitous turn of events. I too use these phrases often, but after pondering the concept a while, I think there’s something greater at play here. Much greater. Funny thing is it’s ineffable. It’s one of those concepts. Kind of like science vs. Mother Nature. Having just recently read a very humorous, yet poignant Twitter post about that very subject this past week, it got me to thinking that fate is fate; I fight it, I embrace it, I sometimes think I can control it … but at the end of the day, I realize that I just can’t.
I guess one just has to listen closely. Sometimes it’s as subtle as coming across an unfamiliar word in a book and looking it up in the dictionary only to be asked the following day, out of the blue, what that word means. You know the answer, and look like a genius over something just learned. Or say you walk into a crowded room on your first day of work. You keep your formal game-face on as you meet and greet, but then you look at someone, they look back and instead of being formal, you get the spark in the eye and the old head nod. Of course that one turns out to be your best friend. So when I started working here at TWH, I looked around at this plethora of wine and was initially overwhelmed. How would I get to know all these wines? Well, the answer is obvious, but where to start? I had been on the job for less than a week when The Wine Advocate released its synopsis of the 2004 Rhone vintage. The phones lit up, as usual, with many a point chaser trying to track down the latest ninety-somethings. One of the point chasers happened to be a wholesale account! They took our entire inventories of both Domaine Fondreche’s Cotes de Ventoux cuvee Persia and cuvee Nadal. As I stacked the cases in our warehouse preparing them to be shipped out, I lamented this loss of two tasting opportunities … ah, but it was just the beginning.
|I became very familiar with what the cases of Domaine Fondreche’s wines looked like. I must have stacked 30 of them that day. When the work day ended, I was handed a couple of recent back issues of Decanter magazine to peruse and to begin to familiarize myself with the multitude of wine that I knew nothing about. I came back home to the old treehouse … Wow! The OLD treehouse; whew! That was a whole ‘nother lifetime ago. Anyhoo, I had a bottle of Fondreche O’Sud open, and was not a bit surprised when I opened up the magazine to an article titled, “Young Giants of the Rhone Valley”. I was even less surprised to see a half page photograph and article about Sebastien Vincenti himself. I thought to myself, “Of course … he’s in the air. Here’s how I’m getting started” So off I went. I learned about the Cotes de Ventoux in the eastern Rhone. I learned that Vincenti’s vineyards are in one of the best spots in the appellation. I learned that he was a disciple of legendary Rhonemaster, Andre Brunel. I also learned that he had been making wine for over 10 years … wait. How old is he? 30? Wow! So, chances are, if you wanted to talk Rhone with me in the early days, I was going to gush about all things Fondreche. In fact I have done so in writing. So has Anya! Even Emily mentioned Fondreche in her Valentine’s write-up. Something about this crazy brain of mine, I remember things like that. How I got there. Who helped, who shined the halogen light forward so I could squint and say, “Oh, there it is. Got it. Thanks.” So I’ve always had it for Sebastien’s wines. Ever since I started here. Somehow, I think I always will.So when the next vintage of Fondreche wines arrived, I made sure to get my mitts on a bottle of the Nadal. It’s a little more pricey than the O’Sud, but well worth the additional expense. It’s deep, rich, and complex. This is special occasion wine, at a much lower price tag than most special occasion wines! You can bring this to any wine lover’s soiree, and get nothing but accolades. I’m not one to gush over wine critics’ scores and tasting notes, but I will copy The Wine Advocate’s tasting note at the end of this write-up.
I think now about the how’s and why’s, though I am constantly fascinated by this thing called life, and resign myself to accepting my fate. That is not to say I won’t fight to change it when I can, but when all signs point to my trying the wines made by Sebastien Vincenti of Domaine Fondreche, why fight? – Peter Zavialoff
Please feel free to email me about fate, Fondreche, or Footy: firstname.lastname@example.org
From Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate:”Two late-release 2007s that have just hit the market are brilliant wines, among the best I have ever tasted from the cool-climate, high-elevation vineyard of Domaine de Fondreche. The 2007 Nadal (50% Grenache, 40% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre, all from vines over 70 years of age) is brilliant. Deep ruby/purple, with kirsch liqueur, licorice, spring flowers, and black raspberries, the wine is dense, medium to full-bodied, and despite being aged in small barrels, displays virtually no evidence of any wood. The freshness of the acids buttress this substantial, rich wine, which should drink well for 4-6 years. Both of these wines actually showed even better this year than they did last year.
One of the consistently superb estates in the Cotes du Ventoux, Domaine de Fondreche offers very high quality and reasonable prices. The creation of Sebastian Vincenti and Manou Barthelemy, these wines are bursting with fruit and have loads of minerality and aromatics. They are beautiful efforts representing the best of what a young generation of French producers can do. The estate is just under 100 acres in size and is now 100% biodynamically farmed. As Sebastian Vincenti told me, 2008 was a very strong vintage for the whites but presented many challenges with the reds. – 92 points”