Andrew Guard

2018 Vin de France 'Les Grands Chemins', Roucas Toumba

50% Grenache and 40% Old vines Carignan and 10% Syrah, all fermented together. Lovely bright colour, fresh delicate and lifted aromas. Very attractive and fresh in the mouth – fruity and spicy with attractive hints of ‘garrigue’ spice – sappy fresh and long on the palate with good weight, grip and persistence. This is unquestionably one of the greatest values I offer every year, it's a superb artisanal wine that leaves a lasting impression.

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.