Altitude 420 is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah, grown on a windswept terrace in “Les Collines,” one of the four Crus of Vinsobres, which towers over the medieval village. The grapes are destemmed and fermented in stainless steel tanks, where they macerate for fifteen days, and a part of the wine is matured in large oak barrels. In the glass, the wine has a deep royal purple color, almost black at the center. Plenty of secondary garrigue aromatics emerge in the nose, including wild blackberries, ripe cherries, orange zest, and dried lavender, sometimes alternating with morel mushrooms, roasted chicory, and black tea as the wine evolves in the glass. On the palate, this wonderful southern Rhône red wine is creamy, supple, long, plush and layered, with a dusty core of brambly red and black fruit seasoned with palpable high altitude minerality (like a northern Rhône Syrah), and puts on weight as the wine evolves over time. The persistent mineral finish, seasoned with fleeting suggestions of smoked charcoal and crushed walnuts, seems endless.
About this wine producer: The modern history of this eighty-hectare estate in Vinsobres began with Henri Chauvet and Baron Le Roy, who, in the 1920s, introduced the idea of “appellation contrôlée” in France. Henri Chauvet’s son-in-law Pierre Jaume was the driving force in the development of the estate, but it was Pierre’s son Claude who was the first to estate-bottle the wines. Grandsons Pascal and Richard took over in the 1980s, and have continued to enlarge and improve Domaine Jaume; with carefully considered purchases, like the vineyard they call “Altitude 420,” and the “Clos des Échelas.” Richard’s son Anthony, who last visited Moore Brothers in March, joined them in 2010. The estate’s unwavering commitment to sustainable, organic viticulture is outlined in its “Charter Vinéa Natura,” which every producer in the world should adopt.”