- Rating: 92 out of 100
- Tasting Fee: $0
- Accepts Reservations: No
- Reservation Required: false
The 2012 Domaine du Pegau was one of the first bottles that truly opened my eyes to the possibilities of the world of wine. Up until that point, I had mostly tasted fruit driven (American) wines, wines with both fruit and terroir influence (Bordeaux), and those that were driven by wood and age (Spanish). Never would I have thought that a wine could taste like a rare roast beef with crackling black pepper. That was my introduction to the garrigue character of French Syrah from the Rhone. Afterthat wine, I remember wanting to explore more wines from more areas to see what exotic flavor profiles were out there. It’s strange to look back on that experience today now that I am a WSET Diploma student preparing for my Unit #3 exam. Time does truly fly and I am very appreciative of the wines that first piqued my curiosity. You can definitely count Domaine du Pegau among them.
So of course, when preparing my itinerary for the Châteauneuf-du-Pape area, I had to make sure I went and paid homage. The first thing I did when I set out for the morning (as I do every morning when visiting wineries) was plug in the name into Google Maps and follow the directions. You can see in the picture above, I was rather surprised to find that Google led me to the end of a street where vines were growing in a field. I never figured out if those vines belonged to Domaine du Pegau because I was a little embarrassed to ask once I arrived at their storefront in town, but I suspect they did. I’m pretty sure that if you look at some other results in Google Maps when looking up the winery, there is one that will seem like a store - that is the place you want to head towards. As you can see below, I was rather happy to find it.
Both from the street and inside the store, Domaine du Pegau isn’t going to win any architectural design awards. This is not the place to lounge for a day, drinking wines. Though in the last picture, you can see there is an inner section to enjoy a bottle if you wanted to. This is just an efficient, low cost way of allowing people that already know of Domaine du Pegau to taste the current vintage and to taste a bottle that is harder to come by on the market: the Cuvee Laurence.
The wine ambassador was surprised to see me, even though it was 11AM on a Saturday; I guess I was the first visitor of the day and they are not used to many. I relayed my story about Pegau’s impact on my wine journey and he said “Say no more!” He poured me two (generous) glasses of the wines below, poured himself much smaller quantities, and we tasted the wines together:
- 2015 Cuvee Reservee (55€)
- 80,000 bottles produced each vintage. This was everything that I remember about this wine. Jammy red fruit (2015 was a warm vintage), black pepper, cinnamon, and the garrigue character. The wine was very well balanced and integrated while sporting high-but-smooth tannins and medium(+) acidity. The flavors on the palate matched the nose with similar notes. But the smooth mouthfeel and the 20+ second finish are what really held my attention. Many people prefer this style to the more expensive Laurence as it’s more rustic and traditional.
- 2012 Cuvee Laurence (65€)
- The best cask (8,000 bottles) in a vintage may be chosen from the Cuvee Reservee to make into the Cuvee Laurence. The Laurence spends four years in cask versus two years for the Cuvee Reservee. There is a little more age on the nose (e.g. the fruit is a little deeper/dried), the pepper is better integrated, and some tertiary notes have started to develop. The fruit pulls back a bit on the palate, but this is already tasting great like a fine, older wine. Seemless black pepper, garrigue, forest floor, and cedar integrate with the red fruit - this wine relies on integration and elegance rather than intensity. I think this is slightly more complex than the Reservee and worth the extra 10€, especially since it’s much harder to find in the US than the Cuvee Reservee.
As I mentioned in one of the captions above, there is no reason not to stop by Domaine du Pegau. It’s right in town, does not require a reservation, does not require a tasting fee, and will likely be higher quality than many of the wines you will find in town. There’s also a very good chance you could find their Cuvee Reservee in stores back in the USA if you wanted to buy bottles in the future. I only wish they made more wines and had their Blanc available to taste - the Cuvee Reservee Blanc is produced in very small quantities (4200 bottles a year) and sells out quickly each vintage.
Regarding the rest of their portfolio, the Cuvee Da Capo is their top wine and only produced in the best vintages (e.g. 2010, 2015, 2016). Even then, only 5000 bottles are produced, making it a collector’s item. Pegau does not make the Cuvee Laurence and the Da Capo during the same vintage, meaning the Cuvee Laurence is basically the Da Capo, though just slightly lesser in quality. Another reason to grab the Laurence if you can. But even rarer than the Da Capo is the Cuvee a Tempo - only 1200 bottles are produced during special vintages. It is the biodynamic, white wine version of the Da Capo.
I had a lot of fun here and can’t wait to talk about Pegau the next time I open one of their bottles. Cheers!!
Rating: 92 out of 100