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  • Jancis Robinson
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  • Jancis Robinson
10 Mar 2009

From €5.80, £56 a dozen in bond and $15.

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Those who have been visiting this site regularly for the last few months will know how enthusiastic I am about 2007 Rhône reds, especially those from the south. See our Guide to Rhône 2007 tasting notes – and should be aware that yet more will be added before long, both on the northern Rhône and on wines from the south other than Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

The other day I was tasting my way through the 2007s currently being offered by UK importer OW Loeb and was knocked out by Ch Pesquié, Les Terrasses 2007 Côtes du Ventoux. This seriously excellent producer on the slopes of the Côtes du Ventoux (pictured here) has 80 hectares in total, enough to warrant employing stagiaires from a wide range of countries each harvest. The Loeb catalogue tells us that this year the Chaudières of Pesquié employed cellar rats not just from the US, Canada and Australia but also from South Korea and Japan.

I'm sure I have already written about the year I spent in Provence in the mid 1970s when Mont Ventoux was the dominant landmark. At that time the wines of Côtes du Ventoux were thin, tart renditions of the local Grenache grape. This Terrasses cuvée is sweet, round and rich with that delightful herby overlay of successful southern Rhône reds – lovely stuff! It's silky and almost drinkable already but with lots of fine tannin tucked underneath to keep it lively over the next three years at least. (O W Loeb suggest you can keep it until 2015, which is unusual indeed for a wine that is currently being offered for just £56 a dozen bottles in bond.)

I must admit that I much preferred this blend of 70% 60-year-old Grenache with 30-year-old Syrah to the more expensive Cuvée Quintessence and Cuvée Artemia (£110 and £180 in bond respectively) from lower-yielding plots and with much more obvious new oak. About 40% of Les Terrasses was aged in older barrels with the rest aged in stainless steel – and very nice too – lovely juicy fruit. This is a wine that could be enjoyed with a wide range of meaty dishes.

I see from Robert Parker's latest Wine Advocate that Les Terrasses is imported into the US by the admirable Eric Solomon of European Cellars, North Carolina, and Parker cites a retail of just $15 a bottle. (He also claims that the cuvée is made expressly for Solomon so it is possible that Loeb and Solomon are selling slightly different blends, but Parker is as enthusiastic about what he tasted, giving it a score of 90 out of 100, as I am about what I tasted – although he gives Quintessence 93.)

If you like southern Rhône reds but don't like tough tannins or the price of the most famous Châteauneufs, you should seriously consider this great value and pleasure offered by Pesquié's Les Terrasses.

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