Vacqueyras is a tiny Rhone sub-region squeezed between Gignondas, Beaumes-de-Venise and Côtes du Ventoux (see the tiny blue patch on this map). The Vacqueyras Appallation zone sits on two villages, one being Vacqueyras, and although I didn't find the total number of estates on the French Wikipedia page, it seems that there are a few dozens estates (caves particulières) if you don't count the négoces and the coops (see this extensive list).
The participating wineries were (in alphabetical order) : Domaine des Amouriers, Domaine le Clos de Caveau, Domaine le Clos des Cazeaux, Domaine de la Fourmone, Maison Gabriel Meffre, Domaine de la Ganse, Domaine de la Garrigue, Domaine de la Ligière, Domaine de la Monardière, Montirius, Domaine de Montvac, Mas des Restanques, Domaine le Sang des cailloux, Les Vignerons de caractère (a coop if I'm right).
This tasting was accessed by invitation only, although I guess someone who could show at the last minute some proof that he was in the trade could have set foot in, I guess. There was just the right number of guests so that it was enjoyable and bearable, considering the surface. The nice thing was also that it was almost entirely outdoor, if not for the tent on the 2nd terrace, and with the view on two peaceful street on the sides, it was like being in a village indeed, you could see passerbys from out of town stopping and wondering if that was the way Parisians spent their summer evenings....
__Domaine le Sang des Cailloux, Un Sang Blanc 2010 (all these wines are Vacqueyras). White Vacqueyras. 6 white varieties in here, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Viognier. Quite oaky it seems to me. A bit high in alcohol, but I guess this is southern Rhône and I should expect it. The label reads 14 °.
__ Domaine de Montvac, Melodine 2010. White Rhône made with Clairette, Roussanne, Bouboulenc and Viognier. 14 °. More enjoyable, maybe the other one paid the price as first wine of the day. Oak less palpable if any. More balanced with alcohol.
__ Montirius Perle de Rosée 2011, rosé wine. Grenache Noir, Syrah. The color has the style of rosé d'Anjou. No oak in the élevage here. Small bitterness in the back of the mouth. I'm having a good time with it and some crispy bread and some saucisson. The organizers had had the good idea to bring successive waves of appetizers, charcuterie, bread and sliced fruits, which helped deal with the tasting, which was very often a drinking from what I saw around me. All the while, the hard stuff was being prepared and grilled for the dinner which was also a free treat starting at 8 pm on the lower terrace.
__ Mas des Restanques 2011, the cuvée domaine I guess. White Vacqueyras again. Hand picked, it says on the label. Very thick bottle. Here is a wine with a vibrant mouth, although the oak is on the front. I didnt taste all the available whites and then turned to reds, on which I was more interested, to be frank.
__ Domaine le Sang des Cailloux cuvée Azalais 2009, red Vacqueyras. Nice tannins, I like this first red. Grenache (70 %), Syrah (20 %), Mourvèdre (7 %), Cinsault (3 %). Not bad. I'll taste (drink) it again.
__ Domaine Montirius, Le Clos 2007. Grenache, Syrah, farmed in biodynamy. no wood in the élevage. 14 ° in alcohol. Not particularly impressed.
__ Domaine La Ligière, rosé, a small digression back to rosé, to try this funny, square bottle which we spotted in a bucket with Philippe Berger whom I met in this crowd. Philippe Berger is a friend sommelier who organizes wine events and tastings on demand in Paris and works for individual clients and companies alike. See his website Vigne et Sens. We weren't impressed by the rosé in spite of the design of the bottle.
__ Domaine des Amouriers 2010. Red Vacqueyras again. Grenache-Syrah, growing on pebble stones (galets roulés) similar to the ones in Chateauneuf du Pape. Quite powerful wine, and very refined and elegant. Good length in the mouth. This wine is very well made it seems to me. 15 ° in alcohol on the label but gets down very well. Excellent, no doubt. Speaking to alain Segelle about this wine later in the evening, he told me that the terroir there is exceptional, and the Domaine des Amouriers was the first of the region years ago to make outstanding wines from this terroir. I don't know the price of this bottle but if you see it and it's in your means, buy it right away.
__ Domaine le Clos des Cazaux, Cuvier des Templiers 2010.
It's been again only a selection of wines for me, as I didn't taste everything that was available on the tables, but that's also a good way to enjoy a tasting, take time to speak to people around you. And I still found interesting wines in the lot. I also met an American woman who was from Texas if I'm right and has made a movie last year including interviews with several artisan vintners. I'll put a link as soon as I find her info.
While eating, we had several wines, including :
__Domaine le Sang des Cailloux, Cuvée de Lopy 2008 (magnum)
__ Domaine Le Clos de Caveau, Carmin Brillant 2007. This one is quite excellent. I'm said it's the reference in Vacqueyras and I understand that. The bottle is at one point grabbed by someone from another table and I manage to get over there to fill again my glass and the one of one of my neighbors.
We had also a Côtes du Rhone by Domaine Delubac which I liked.
There was cool jazz music during much of the evening, and also some acting performance in Renaissance costumes if I remember. The whole party was pretty relaxed and unpretentious. The medal awarding at the end of the pétanque contest, by the Confrérie and the President of the République de Montmartre (the man in black in the picture on top) had brought another touch of lightheartedness. At 10 pm we were gently advised to leave so that the residents in the buildings around could enjoy some peace (you know how noisy a happy-wine tablée can be).
Alain Segelle can be reached at alainsegellewines [at] yahoo [dot] fr