Just 16 villages in the Côtes du Rhone Villages appellation are permitted to put their name on the label. Rasteau, located just north of Avignon, and Cairanne are among the most famous. This is where Domaine Armand has its 38 hectares of estate vines. Patrice and Audrey Armand are the 4th generation to run this family winery. They follow traditional, sustainable viticultural practices (lutte raisonnée). We recently tasted three Côtes du Rhone Villages wines from the 2010 vintage made by Domaine Armand.
Domaine Armand 2010 Cairanne Blanc Armony Côtes du Rhone Villages ($18) 89
A blend of Marsanne (60%), Roussane (20%), Clairette (15%), and Grenache Blanc (5%), pale yellow Armony is delicate and delicious with excellent acidity and balance. It shows aromas and flavors of dried flowers, yellow melon, and honeycomb. The lush and perfumed palate is well structured. Fermented in 80 percent stainless steel and 20 percent oak.
Domaine Armand 2010 Cairanne Rouge Soleidador Côtes du Rhone Villages ($19) 90+
A blend of 65% Grenache, 25% Syrah, and 10% Mourvèdre from 50 year old vines, this is one of the better values coming out of the Côtes du Rhone. Fruit forward and lush in character, the Soleidador shows blackberries, violets and tar on the nose. It’s soft on the attack with very good intensity of blackberry and black raspberry fruit with a hint of cocoa on the palate.
Domaine Armand 2010 Rasteau Côtes du Rhone Villages ($20) 89
The semi-opaque, ruby purple Rasteau is a blend of 70% Grenache Rouge and 30% Mourvèdre from 40 year old vines. Dense, rich boysenberry and black raspberry show in both the nose and the mouth, finishing dry. This is a straightforward, well-balanced, fruit rich wine.
These wines are brought to America by JAO Wine Imports.
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler