La Roubine - 2015 Côtes du Rhône, ‘Sablet’
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Inside the bottle: The Sablet is an extraordinarily powerful and rustic red. Usually when people say rustic, I feel that it implies that it’s a little “funky”, if you know what I mean. This is not the case here with this absolutely pure and focused wine. The fruit falls back to a tertiary role behind the earth and floral aromas. This blend of grapes, dominated by Grenache, comes out of the glass with power that is perfumed with lavender, thyme, spice and meat. Yes, meat, dried meat, like jerky or French saucisson, as well as grilled beef. If this sounds like a bull in a glass, it is.
The aroma springs out of the glass with black pepper, tapenade, licorice and herbs of Provence. The fruit aromas of the wine hit high red notes along with the obvious darker impressions of fruit, like black mission figs. On the palate, the wine carries a massive structure that calms down with a little air. Good luck on keeping your hands off of this when you open it.
Terroir: As the name suggests, this vineyard is dominated by sand but also has a good dose of sandstone, quartz and limestone. Because it’s on a north facing terraced hillside of the Dentelles de Montmirail, the wine remains aromatic and fresh. The neighboring vineyards of Roubine in Vacqueras and Gigondas have a lot of clay, which adds roundness and full fruit flavors, while the sands of Sablet bring more structural elements, exemplifying the tannin and acidic structure with less juiciness. This wine is both a “vin de terroir” and a “vin de garde.” It is a supremely serious wine for its mere Cotes du Rhone appellation status.