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To all Wine Exchangers,
OK, we’re still trying to figure this one out.

How did these guys follow-up the heroic 2016 version of this wine with an even better wine in 2017?

When you think about 2016 as a vintage, this wine in theory should be a close runner-up considering the quality of the harvests but, wouldn’t you know it, this 2017 is a home…run.

For those that missed our original missive on the 2016 of this sensational wine we sold last year, here’s a little Beaumes de Venise 101.

Just to the east of Gigondas and Vacqueyras, Beaumes de Venise had been well-known mainly for its sweet wine, the famous Muscat Beaumes de Venise, which is the true dessert wine of the southern Rhone, much like Tavel is the southern Rhone’s true Rosé.  However, excellent red wine had been produced here under the Cotes du Rhone appellation for decades.
Starting in 1978 the appellation earned a Cotes du Rhone Villages appellation status, putting it on equal footing with other known areas in the zone like Rasteau and Cairanne.

Then, in 2005, Beaunes de Venise hit the big time.  The bureaucrats finally decided to bestow the area its own appellation controlee, meaning Beaumes was now playing on the same level as Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Chateauneuf-du-Pape!

This was all pretty quiet and under-the-radar, seen as the area was still mostly known for its dessert wine.  But, this promotion has served the area well.  Its amazing what can happen when a grower knows he can squeeze just a couple more dollars out of a bottle.  Bingo!

Domaine des Bernardins is one of the prototypical domaines in the zone.  Their white grape acreage outnumbers their red by 2:1, but that may slowly begin to change based on this wine!

The Domaine des Bernardins Beaumes de Venise 2017 is a typical-of-the-area blend of 65% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre and, in a bit of a surprise, 5% Grenache Blanc.  That 5% of white grapes punches up the freshness and, like Viognier with Syrah, gives a subtle floral lift to the aromatics.

The vines here are a healthy 50+ years-old and winemaking is super-basic.  No destemming, to provide a little more structure, and then fermenting and aging in stainless steel, no wood whatsoever.  After a year its bottled up with minimal intervention and voila, brilliant wine!

The result of vine age, amazing vintage and conscientious grape-growing was soon discovered by the folks at Decanter Magazine:

“Aged for 10-12 months in stainless steel, this has intense juniper and rosemary notes on the very rounded and savoury palate. The tannins are robust but ripe and will need time to settle, and the acidity is fierce. It's very powerful but balanced overall, retaining freshness. An impressive wine with tremendous focus and seething energy. Another excellent vintage for one of the best value wines in the southern Rhône. 94 points.”

‘Robust’, ‘powerful’, ‘balanced’, ‘impressive’, it’s another great tasting note for this wine.

And again, at $17.98 a bottle, it represents a killer value, basically half the price of an entry-level Chateauneuf with the same score!  Happy Hunting…
Bernardins Beaumes de Venise Rouge 2017
94 Points! Aged for 10-12 months in stainless steel, this has intense juniper and rosemary notes on the very rounded and savoury palate. The tannins are robust but ripe and will need time to settle, and the acidity is fierce. It's very powerful but balanced overall, retaining freshness. An impressive wine with tremendous focus and seething energy. Another excellent vintage for one of the best value wines in the southern Rhône. - Decanter Magazine
ONLY $17.98
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