That’s me and Yves Orleac at a tasting in Boston!
I sometimes feel like a kid in a candy store…except the candy store is my store! I’m a pretty lucky guy: I get to do what I love everyday, I’m surrounded by incredible wines and I get to work with my wife! But I really feel like a “kid” when I’m getting ready to go on vacation, and I am currently on my vacation as I type this blog.
I don’t do trips to ski country or relaxation on the beach. I just like doing what I want when I want at my own speed (my speed is slow if you ask any of my kids). But the one thing I always make sure to do before I lock the door to the store one last time before I check out for a week is to stock up on wine. I definitely treat myself to a few special bottles, but I always look at vacation as a time for me to catch up with some “old” friends, or in this case, wines I haven’t tried in quite some time.
Domaine de L’Hortus has been a long time favorite of mine. And has clearly become a favorite of yours, too: both of the featured wines below are in our top 25 French wines of 2015! That’s a lot of juice, as I like to say! Jean and Marie Thérèse Orleac founded the estate in 1979 when they purchased a substantial plot of old vines and olives trees in the Pic St. Loup appellation. It was actually Jean’s love of rock climbing that initially drew him to the area. The shear, limestone cliffs of l’Hortus provided hours of enjoyment and with a background in agriculture it dawned on Jean that this magical place would be the perfect setting for a vineyard. So the journey started!
I have to admit that I sometimes skip over this wine simply because it’s been on the shelves for so long. And when I tried it a few nights ago, I practically slapped myself in the face for doing so! This wine rocks! I brought the classic southwestern French blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre into the store over fifteen years ago and I love it just as much now as the first day I tried it. L’Hortus Rouge is full, yet not heavy tasting, with black berry flavors and hints of pepper from the Syrah component. This is a perfect wine for BBQ or any of our French cheeses from our case.
When I opened up L’Hortus Blanc the other night I just could not get over how good it is! Every time I open this bottle up I am just floored with the quality, freshness and the value. It is just one of those bottles that truly impresses with each sip. A spectacular blend in this bottle: 30% Roussanne, 20% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Viognier, 10% Sauvignon Gris, 10% Chardonnay, 5% Petit Manseng and 5% Bourboulenc. Sorry you asked? There is ripe fruit coming through from the Chardonnay, a crisp backbone of acidity from the Sauvignon and a peachy delicacy from the notoriously difficult Viognier. I LOVE THIS WINE. A tremendous buy for under $20.
Jean and Marie are still involved, but their children–Marie, François, Yves and Martin–are now heavily involved in the operations. The estate practices organic farming, too.
I hope you try both wines and as my vacation treat to you, we will be offering any combination of the two wines at a 20% discount. Both wines are usually $17.99/btl, so that brings it down to $14.39/btl! And don’t forget that our Winter Wine Sale is going on now, too!
I may be on vacation, but my palate never takes a break!