In the glass, the wine has a dark purple color, almost black at the center. The nose opens gradually with ripe blackberries, smoked meat, aged black tea, dark chocolate, and a cornucopia of Provençal herbs and spices. On the palate the wine is solid, smooth, and opulent, with ripe sweet flavors that fan out like a peacock’s tail: more ripe black fruit, lavender, dried figs, and cocoa. There is wonderful graphite mineral brightness and refreshing vibrancy, and the mouth-coating flavors gain weight over time in the glass.
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.”