Red, Ready, but will keep

2011 Vinsobres, Les Hautes de Julien, Vieilles Vignes, La Famille Perrin

2011 Vinsobres, Les Hautes de Julien, Vieilles Vignes, La Famille Perrin

Red | Ready, but will keep | La Famille Perrin | Code: 14384 | 2011 | France > Rhône > Vinsobres | Southern Rhône Blend | Full Bodied, Dry | 14.5 % alcohol

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Scores and Reviews

PARKER

90-92/100

PARKER - Even more impressive is the 2011 Vinsobres Vieilles Vignes Les Hauts Julien. Made from the same blend of 50/50 Grenache and Syrah, this wine displays more density, slightly lower acidity and hints of black truffle and graphite. It is a big wine, and based on older vintages that they have made, takes a long time to reach full maturity. (I haven't found a fully mature one yet.) Nevertheless, this is a noteworthy purchase for serious wine connoisseurs.

As I said last year, the Perrin family is a large one indeed, with brothers Jean-Pierre and Francois sitting at the top of the hierarchy and their four sons, Mathieu, Pierre, Thomas and Marc increasingly taking charge of their negociant business and their extensive estates throughout Southern Rhone. Now controlling over 1200 acres, as well as having a network of contracts, this operation is the equivalent of a major Southern Rhone train operating at high speed. Moreover, they are doing some incredible work in all price ranges. Other 2011s that the Perrin boys have produced include the following wines, which were very good across the board, especially for 2011s. In particular, readers need to take a hard look at their estate in Vinsobres, which is making the finest wines of that appellation, and more recently, what they are doing in Gigondas with the estate they purchased there, Clos des Tourelles. These are special wines. There are now three cuvees of Gigondas from the Perrins - the Gigondas La Gille, the Gigondas Vieilles Vignes and the Gigondas Clos des Tourelles. All three merit serious attention. Tasting the 2010s, which were all set to go into bottle right after my visit, certainly shows that this vintage is impressive, although I'm not sure that Marc and Pierre Perrin haven't done as good a job with their selections in 2011. Three cuvees of Gigondas look to all have outstanding potential and will probably be in bottle by the time this report is published.
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate #204, Dec 2012

The Producer

La Famille Perrin

La Famille Perrin

The Domaine Perrin is a négociant brand created in 1997 by François Perrin and his brother Jean-Pierre, Pierre's father, and since 1999 run by Pierre. The Perrin family are owners of the famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape estate Château de Beaucastel.

As with the wines at Beaucastel, the Domaine Perrin wines are impeccably made and reflect the true nature of the terroir from which they come. The wines made are all from the neighbouring Southern Rhône appellations to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, such as Vacqueyras and Gigondas. The reds are based on Grenache, but with other Rhône grape varieties, such as Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault.

The Perrins are one of the most reliable wine families in the Rhône valley, truly a name to look out for.

The Grape

Southern Rhône Blend

Southern Rhône Blend

The vast majority of wines from the Southern Rhône are blends. There are 5 main black varieties, although others are used and the most famous wine of the region, Châteauneuf du Pape, can be made from as many as 13 different varieties. Grenache is the most important grape in the southern Rhône - it contributes alcohol, warmth and gentle juicy fruit and is an ideal base wine in the blend. Plantings of Syrah in the southern Rhône have risen dramatically in the last decade and it is an increasingly important component in blends. It rarely attains the heights that it does in the North but adds colour, backbone, tannins and soft ripe fruit to the blend.

The much-maligned Carignan has been on the retreat recently but is still included in many blends - the best old vines can add colour, body and spicy fruits. Cinsault is also backtracking but, if yields are restricted, can produce moderately well-coloured wines adding pleasant-light fruit to red and rosé blends. Finally, Mourvèdre, a grape from Bandol on the Mediterranean coast, has recently become an increasingly significant component of Southern Rhône blends - it often struggles to ripen fully but can add acidity, ripe spicy berry fruits and hints of tobacco to blends.

The Region

Vinsobres

Vinsobres, along with Beaumes de Venise, has cause for celebration, , having been promoted to a stand-alone appellation in 2006 - in the vein of Gigondas or Vacqueyras - but now overtaking Cairanne and 12 or so other Cote du Rhone villages, in the local hierarchy. 

This is primarily due to the relative altitude of the vines being recognised for lending complexity and structure to the wines. None are better at demonstrating this than the husband and wife team Philippe and Valérie Chaume Arnaud.

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