I can think of several reasons to love a wine. Lately, I've been focused on the stories inside the bottles, the farming, the philosophy, the history. But it doesn't end there. Sometimes a wine has so much character that everything else just sort of fades behind the radiance of the experience. So it is with the wines of Xavier Vignon, a master oenologist who has put his mark on Châteauneuf-du-Pape by consulting with many of the best producers in this storied appellation. The Xavier brand is his own private label, under which he has released offerings of rosé, Côtes du Rhone rouge and blanc, as well as several crus appellations including a Gigondas and his crowning achievement, the Châteauneuf-du-Pape "Anonyme."
At the shop, we've taken a pretty strong position on these wines, bringing in two vintages of the "Anonyme" (2007, 2009), the Gigondas, and his basic red and rosé. And while value might not be the first thing any of us associate with Gigondas or Châteauneuf-du-Pape, tasting the "Anonyme" and knowing the sort of expertise and care that goes into its making, value is exactly what springs to mind. It comes in well under the cost of the big names for whom Vignon consults, and yet is every bit as complex and mind-meltingly delicious.
Hard to imagine a better set of wines for Easter. Wild herbs and dark fruits mingle for a spicy, luscious, old-meets-new fantasia of aroma and flavor.
Xavier Châteauneuf-du-Pape "Cuvée Anonyme" 2007 — $70 Xavier Châteauneuf-du-Pape "Cuvée Anonyme" 2009 — $75
Xavier Gigondas — $43
Xavier Côtes du Rhône rouge — $20 Xavier Côtes du Rhône rosé — $13