Mission Codename Nobilis
The 91-92 NBA season ushered in an era of utter domination by the Chicago Bulls. Similarly, the 2015 and 2016 Southern Rhône vintages absolutely changed the game and set a new high-water mark for the region. From top to bottom, you must really search hard to find a bad wine here.
Meffre started in 1936 as a négociant, and by the time of his passing in 1987, he had amassed 900 hectares of prime Rhône vineyards. Interesting side note - his daughter owns another hugely respected winery - Vaudieu. Yes, the winemaking roots run deep for this family. And of course, like any top Rhône producer, they sought the help of Philippe Cambie to level up their quality. Cambie is like a winemaking prophet, a Grenache wizard; he’s the guy winemakers call on to reach their highest potential. He is to the Rhône what Michel Rolland is to Bordeaux or Bill Belichick is to NFL coaching.
Both years completely shattered expectations, with 2016 gaining the edge slightly. An overjoyed Jeb Dunnuck wrote “The 2016 vintage was truly extraordinary for the Southern Rhône and is a vintage that readers should buy with abandon. This is the greatest young vintage from the Southern Rhône Valley I’ve ever tasted, both in terms of quality as well as consistency. I’ve never seen so many traditional cuvées achieve such high quality nor so many estates produce such truly extraordinary wines.”
And the best part about all these extraordinary wines? The mid-tier appellations such as Côtes du Rhône Villages offer some of the best bang for the buck.
Dunnuck continued his praise, “In fact, the quality of many base cuvées made me ponder more than once if it was worth the uptick in price for the more expensive special cuvées. While these are ripe, concentrated, and exuberant wines, they also show an incredible purity of fruit as well as weightless, sensationally balanced profiles on the palate. They are complex, powerful wines that satisfy both the intellectual and the hedonistic parts of the brain…you will want these wines in your cellar… these wines are not going to last long.”
And that brings us to today’s incredible TWS exclusive value from Gabriel Meffre that overdelivers big time!
From Meffre’s flagship lineup the 2016 ‘Laurus” earned a couple of 90+ point accolades from Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate. For $19 it drinks like a true baby Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which isn’t surprising given the 50+ year old vines that power it. Lush and round, and beaming with pure, focused fruit. Every sip delivers a nonstop flood of opulent red berries, raspberry whips, baked plum, and smoky vanilla laced with Herbs de Provence.
91 Points – Wine Spectator
“Ripe and fleshy, but soft and gentle in feel, with warm plum and raspberry compote notes gliding through, lined with black tea and incense accents that blossom and linger on the finish.”
90 Points – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“Meffre’s 2016 Cotes du Rhone Villages Laurus is an exotic smelling and tasting wine, marked by its namesake barrels. Vanilla and toasted coconut notes abound, rounded out by lush fruit that seems almost tropical in its opulence. Drink 2017-2023.”
What the Winery Says
2016 'Laurus' Côtes du Rhône Villages AOC
- Consulting winemaker
- Phillippe Cambie
- Véronique Torcolacci
- 65% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre
- Côtes-du-Rhône Villages, Rhône Valley
- Gard & Vaucluse
- Gallets, clay, limetone, sandstone
- Vine age
- 50-90 years
- 42 hl/ha
- Harvest dates
- September 12th - October 20th, 2016
- Bottling date
- September 27th, 2018
- 15 months
- 80% in 1 -2-years-old 275 liter oak