Andrew Guard

2018 Vacqueras 'La Grande Terre', Roucas Toumba

This is produced from a single parcel of 55 year old Grenache and 30 year old Syrah and Mourvèdre. Deep ruby in colour, this is still   extremely primary. It's bright and lively in the mouth, offering intensity and is distinctly 'Burgundian' in style. It shows outstanding clarity and intensity on the finish where it weaves lovely freshness into density and power. This would make many Châteauneuf du Pape's blush..

The distinctive clay and sand dominated soils give Vacqueyras an identity suitably different from that of popular near-neighbour Gigondas. The wines are perhaps a little more elegant here, with more focus on primary fruit and in the best examples, finesse and real harmony; importantly Rouca Toumba has vines in all the best parcels - Garrigues de l’Etang, Le Grès, Restanques de Cabassole, Les Débats, and La Marine.

The Roucas Toumba property has been passed down through the Bouletin family for many generations. Current custodian Éric Bouletin's father died when he was only 15, and one year later he left school to help his mother at the domaine. He sold the grapes from the domaine, which has owned the parcel of "Les Restanques de Cabassole" since 1723, to the co-op until 2000 when he began to make his own wine. The quality of Roucas Toumba grapes is well known in the region and he still sells a little to the Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel fame.

Rarely does a first tasting with a new vigneron excite me as much as it did at Roucas Toumba, these are all stunning wines.