One of the great things about going out to dinner is the opportunity to select from the restaurant’s wine list and discover new wines. Vino in Honolulu is an Italian restaurant owned by Master Sommelier Chuck Furuya whose wine list offers a wide range of wines at every price point. Tonight I scored when I chose the 2013 La Pinede by Domaine La Tour Vielle.
Domaine La Tour Vielle is located in the Languedoc-Roussillon in France. The property is located in the AOC of Collioure. Collioure is a seaside town located 10 km from the Spanish border where the Pyrenees plunge into the Mediterranean sea. This region is known as “French Catalonia”. Wines labelled Collioure come from exactly the same area as Banyuls but Collioure requires the grapes be harvested earlier since the wine produced will not be a Vin Doux Natural. Regulations for Collioure state that the wine be at least 60% of a blend of Mouvedre, Syrah, and Grenache Noir. Other grapes permitted in Collioure are Cinsault and Carignan.
Domaine La Tour Vielle was founded in 1981 by Vincent Cantie and Christine Campadieu. The hills are very steep and the vineyards contain low dry stone walls to prevent erosion of the schistous bedrock. Fierce ocean winds known as La Tramonte blow through the vineyards 120 days a year and this ensures a low crop yield. The average age of the vines is between 35-70 years old. Due to the severe incline of the hills everything must be painstakingly harvested by hand. I can’t imagine carrying baskets loaded with grapes up those steep slopes.
La Pinede 2013 started off being crushed by bare feet (pigeages). It’s a blend of 80% Grenache Noir, 7% Carignan, 7% Syrah, and 6% Mouvedre. Little, if any filtration is present and no oak was used.
La Pinede 2013 is a deep ruby color. The nose revealed savory herbs, cherry and red fruits, and had a smoky note to it. On the palate it was soft and juicy with succulent, spicy, ripe red fruit and a great deal of minerality. . This fruity and smooth wine was so easy to drink and had a long lingering finish. Chuck Furuya describes it as “a provocative, savory, masculine though delicious southern French red”. La Pinede could age at least 10 years. I could already see ordering another bottle as it was scrumptious and paired incredibly well with a range of foods.
La Pinede was reasonably priced wine ($48 on the Vino wine list). It’s imported by Kermit Lynch. I for one will seek out this gem of a wine which delivers great value for astounding flavor and quality. I’m glad to have discovered the 2013 La Pinede by Domaine La Tour Vielle.