We have these small signs used for display at TWH with a staff member’s first name and the word “pick”. You know, like Tom’s Pick, Chris’ Pick, Peter’s Pick, etc. I have three such signs in the store that I move around. I’m pretty sure that’s one more sign than anyone else, but I figure since I’m a veteran ’round here I get an extra pick, right? The 2007 Cotes du Ventoux Cuvee Nadal from Domaine Fondreche has had my name on it for some time, yet I’ve never written about it. How can this be? Most likely it’s that for me, Fondreche’s Nadal is like Pernot’s Bourgogne Blanc…always great, always a value. It’s a no brainer, an easy choice. That and Pete wrote about itbefore I had the chance. Be that as it may, as I contemplated the rain, the bone-chilling wind and how I have this deep desire to hibernate, though not before concocting some sort of soul-warming one pot comfort food thingy that I could serve alongside an equally soul-warming red winethis weekend, THE ONLY WINE that came to mind was the 2007 Nadal. It’s so texturally rich and beautifully perfumed, you can’t help feel happy inside.

When I came to work at TWH some ten plus years back, Sebastien Vincenti had just started Domaine Fondreche in the Cotes du Ventoux after having worked with Rhone master, Andre Brunel. Fondreche’s Nadal, a Grenache-based wine, quickly became a favorite of mine. I suppose I’m partial to Grenache, especially from the Rhone. What do I love about Grenache?Let me count the ways: pie filling-like fruit, aromas of garrigue and forest floor, and milk chocolatey tannins. These qualities can be found in the 2007 Nadal. I have yet to suggest this wine to someone who hasn’t come back for more. This being true, it may seem surprising that we still have in stock this big-scoring (see Parker’s review below) red from the highly lauded 2007 Rhone vintage, yet not surprising when you learn that with this perennial Wine House favorite, we took a big position. Even so, we are, sadly, down to the last 20 cases.

I last tasted the 2007 Nadal less than a month ago. I noticed that it has lost a bit of its youthful baby fat (remember 2007 Rhones had fruit o’plenty) and has grown into its skin, as it were. It’s hit its sweet spot, drinking smooth and deliciously, and should continue to do so for the next 5 years. At this point,you can pull the cork and NOT chastise yourself after for having opened it too soon. All the elements have come together, the fruit, the acidity and the tannins, melding together into a seamless, plush, aromatic red Rhone. It really is a lovely drink. I was discussing dining with a couple of wine reps this week that led into a conversation about where I like to go out to eat in my neighborhood. I explained that though I follow the goings on of restaurants and love to eat out, I’m in a stage of life (kid, dog, mortgage, etc.) that limits real exploration. What I said is more likely to happen is a visit to my local farmer’s market for the freshest of produce. We all agreed that with farmer’s market fresh produce you don’t have to be a great chef to make something tasty. I can sprinkle (a little salt), I can drizzle (some authentic Tuscan olive oil from Tenuta Pierazzuoli and aged balsamic, both of which are available for sale at TWH) and I can grind (black pepper that is, careful!). And then to complete the five-star experience, a bottle of something special is all you need. With the 2007 Nadal in mind and thinking back to what I spotted at last Sunday’s winter market, I begin to envision roasted beets and juicy oranges sliced thin for a salad, or braised rainbow chard with white beans (add pork if you like; hmmm bacon!). Doesn’t that just sound wonderful? Man, is this rain making me ever so hungry…AND THIRSTY for Fondreche’s 2007 Nadal! 

Anya Balistreri

2007 Domaine de Fondreche Cotes du Ventoux Cuvee Nadal

Red Wine; Rhone Blend; Rhone;
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“Two late-release 2007s that have just hit the market are brilliant wines, among the best I have ever tasted from the cool-climate, high-elevation vineyard of Domaine de Fondreche. The 2007 Nadal (50% Grenache, 40% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre, all from vines over 70 years of age) is brilliant. Deep ruby/purple, with kirsch liqueur, licorice, spring flowers, and black raspberries, the wine is dense, medium to full-bodied, and despite being aged in small barrels, displays virtually no evidence of any wood. The freshness of the acids buttress this substantial, rich wine, which should drink well for 4-6 years. Both of these wines actually showed even better this year than they did last year.

One of the consistently superb estates in the Cotes du Ventoux, Domaine de Fondreche offers very high quality and reasonable prices. The creation of Sebastian Vincenti and Manou Barthelemy, these wines are bursting with fruit and have loads of minerality and aromatics. They are beautiful efforts representing the best of what a young generation of French producers can do. The estate is just under 100 acres in size and is now 100% biodynamically farmed.” 92 points from Wine Advocate’s Issue #185