At harvest, the grapes are hand-picked and sorted. The red grapes mature within a prescribed period and proportions of varieties are fermented together, allowing enhanced extraction of color and tannin due to differentials in skin density and juice ratio, resulting in greater depth and complexity than if fermented separately. Three cuvées are assembled in this manner. The first, of 70 percent Grenache, 20 percent Syrah and 10 percent Mourvèdre, represents the wine's structural element; the second, of 80 percent Grenache and 20 percent Syrah, contributes depth of color and tannin; the third, of 70 percent Grenache, 15 percent Cinsault, 7 percent Syrah and the balance Muscardin, Counoise and Vaccarese, lends the blend aroma.
The bunches are 90 to 95 percent destemmed and crushed, and fermentation is offset by natural yeasts in temperature controlled vats at 30° to 32°C (86° to 89°F) over 8 to 10 days, followed by a maceration of up to two weeks. The cuvées are pressed and maintained separately for malolactic fermentation and aging. The first cuvée is racked into new oak barriques for a period of 6 to 8 months, racked, and returned to barrique for another 6 to 8 months. The second cuvée spends a similar period in barriques of two to three years' use. The third cuvée is aged for 10 to 14 months in old oak vats. The final blend is assembled, egg-white fined and allowed to marry for three to four months prior to bottling.
Robert Parker(2011 Vintage) Rating: 89/100 - As reviewed by Robert Parker on 10/21/2013