THE Finest Vacqueyras I’ve Discovered
I first visited the wine growing appellations surrounding Chateauneuf du Pape on one of my annual buying trips through the region in the early 1990s. I spent the bulk of my time in the town of Chateauneuf du Pape, visiting with and tasting through literally dozens of the finest wines on the planet. But I had been encouraged by my wine importing buddies not to overlook Gigondas and in particular Vacqueyras, as there were a bevy of – as of yet – undiscovered gems to be unearthed. I’d also heard that the wines of Vacqueyras were some heady, rich and full-throttled wines. So, after a hearty breakfast on the day I planned my visit to Vacqueyras, I was off to discover this quaint winemaking town.
I was immediately impressed upon arrival. Wine has been made here in Vacqueyras since the 15th century, with the region benefitting from a Mediterranean climate and the tempering influences of nearby River Ouveze. There is also a ridge here – not so much a mountain, but certainly a higher altitude of vineyards – which lends more complexity to the wines made from grapes planted here. I wanted to taste more of these higher altitude wines, to get a sense of the better wines in the appellation. Afterall, Vacqueyras was only just elevated to AOC status in 1990. I was cutting my teeth on some freshly elevated wines.
Of all the wines I tried, one kept me coming back for subsequent tastes. That wine is the one Parker once described as a “hedonistic, silky-textured, fruit-driven effort…offering loads of kirsch, licorice, and black fruits…this represents a terrific bargain and is well-worth checking out.” That wine quickly became my favorite. Chateau de Montmirail Vacqueyras Cuvee des Deux Freres, named in honor of the Brothers Archimbaud who built the two adjoining properties back in the 1960s. The estate is run today by their grandchildren, Philippe and Sylvie and their mother, Monique Archimbaud Bouteiller who passed on the torch to her children in 2018.
And what a killer Vacqueyras they bottle! Packed and stacked with black fruits, glycerin, licorice, menthol, silky tannins and a finish that lasts for minutes… THIS, THIS is what great Vacqueyras is all about. Try all the others, then come home to the best I’ve ever tried! And still less than $20!
2017 Chateau de Montmirail Cuvee des Deux Freres Vacqueyras
The Vacqueyras Cuvee des Deux Freres offers exotic, complex aromas of thyme, tea-like notes, raspberries, orange zest and even hints of apricot. A blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre, it’s medium to full-bodied, with a long, silky finish.
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate