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2010 Vinsobres, Les Cornuds, 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 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.
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.