On the road (continued ...)

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June 2008


by Jeff Cox, Wine and Beer Merchandiser

(Montpellier, France) — Sévérine Lemoine has wine in her blood, the Rhône in her soul and a delicious story to tell.

At a time when the children of many French wine producers are opting to sell family estates to conglomerates or developers, she and her sister Melanie Borelly have taken over the operation of the family business, Domaine la Rocalière, with Sévérine making the wine and Melanie handling sales and marketing. While their father made good, sturdy wines, a glass testifies that the two sisters have begun my amazing renaissance.

The wines are superb, from vins de pays to the best cuvées of Tavel and Lirac. Across the spectrum, they show clarity, focus, a core of characteristic terroir and an elegant feminine sensibility of ample power cloaked in grace.

The Tavel is classic, a deep, ruby grapefruit hue with aromas and flavors of raspberry and cherry tinged with hints of blood orange, raspberry skin and spice, anchored by an undercurrent of stones. Tavel was the favorite wine of Louis XIV and is known as the Rosé of Kings and the King of Rosés — a well-deserved title.

She responds to our compliments with humility, explaining that the vineyard makes the wine — she merely assists in seeing that the wine is the truest possible expression of the terroir.

Onward. I walk away, the taste of pure, ripe fruit inextricably woven with stones lingering on my palate. It’s going to be a good day.

(Chico, CA) — Throckmorton sighs heavily as he drops his sleep-deprived frame into the passenger seat. He reaches for the CD player’s “eject” button, muttering “Beethoven” in the half-defiant, half-asleep tone that is the vernacular of edgy people with a coffee Jones.

“You down with that?” His tone invites discussion like Bill O’Reilly might invite genuine dialog (were such a thing ever to occur). “Beethoven,” he announces — “all the way home.” OK, pardner.

It’s 660 miles. We’ve got symphonies, piano and violin concerti, a fantasia and a grosse fugue — that oughtta do it. His half-jesting, half-defiant tone suggests that argument is futile.

“Symphonies,” he grunts, “where ya wanna start?” — “You need to call it, friend-o,” I reply, easing the car into the deserted street. Soon, the 6th Symphony’s principal theme joins the chorus of road noise as we head north and out of town, amidst cool green fields lit by the just-risen sun, slung low over the Sierra foothills.

... to be continued.

Jeff Cox

About the author

Jeff Cox is the wine and beer merchandiser at PCC. Over the years, he's built close relationships with vineyards worldwide and in our neck of the woods. He's even worked with select local vineyards to create some of the spectacular wines we carry.

In addition to this monthly column, check out his featured wines list.