Exclusive offer: 6/16/2023 — Campuget, part one

Offer available through Monday, 6/19/2023, or as inventory lasts.

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Hi everyone –

This week is a quick little offer on two OUTSTANDING wines from a favorite region and producer. In fact, everything about this offer falls into the ‘favorites’ category for me: the grape varieties, the style of the wines, the region they are from, the story of the winery, and the food pairing ideas.

This is part one of a two part offer on Chateau de Campuget, featuring a couple of wines from their higher end (and rare, under 1000 cases of each were made) “1753” line up, which commemorates the founding of the winery.

Let’s get to it!

One of the highlights of the area: The Pont du Gard. Image by Ridoe from Pixabay

The region: Costières de Nîmes

I’m a lover of the Rhône Valley, both north and south. The rolling hills of the Southern Rhône are one of my favorite places because of the combination of history, wine, food, and amazing people you find throughout the area. The region of Costières de Nîmes is located in the southwest corner of the Southern Rhône, away from the spotlight that typically shines on better-known regions such as Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

Within this region, you experience what the French call “Le Garrigue.” As discussed on WineSearcher:

Areas of “garrigue” (the quintessential southern French landscape of dry, low-lying scrubland on limestone soils readily associated with the Camargue) are present in the eastern corners of the appellation, providing excellent potential for viticulture. When not planted with vines, this land is generally populated with rosemary, lavender and thyme, as its relatively loose, free-draining soils are poor in nutrients.

These conditions are the same as those determined in the 1920s by Baron LeRoy of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, whose viticultural and oenological rules were the precursor to the modern appellation system. Free-draining soils of low fertility force vines to dig deep, strong root systems in search of water and nutriment, and are widely considered to produce more-complex wines.


The winery: Chateau de Campuget

The Chateau is owned by the Dalle family, which fled the north during WWII in 1942 and settled in the safer south, where they purchased the ancient Chateau Campuget.

The Château itself was built in 1753, and at the same time, the first vines were planted, prompting the 1753 range of wines which mark this historic date.

A fusion of tradition and modernity unite in the cellars here, producing wines with integrity, finesse, and a wonderful expression of terroir from a wide range of traditional Rhône varieties. In 2019, Château de Campuget was certified as Haute Valeur Environmental, which officially recognizes the environmental performance of winegrowers, including biodiversity conservation, plant protection strategies, managed fertilizer use, and water resource management.

A great story from WWII

The local importer of this brand traveled to France ten years ago, and one of their stops was at Campuget. This is one of the stories that really made me fall in love with this brand.

Campuget “1753” Vermentino 2021

This may be the best Vermentino I’ve had in the last ten years. Only a few hundred cases of this came to America.

Vermentino is one of my favorite grapes, and a few months ago, many of you jumped on a Vermentino bargain from Sicily that we found. Vermentino is highly successful in the hot Mediterranean basin, where it’s one of the rare whites that produces a wine with tremendous body but also racy acidity.

Alas, only 40 bottles of this gem are available in this offer. Grab it while you can.

If really good Sauvignon Blanc (I’m talking the best of Pouilly-Fume) and really good Pinot Grigio (I’m talking the top wines of Friuli) had a love child, which was then washed in seawater and sprinkled with lime zest, you’d have this Vermentino.

This is serious, big-time, expressive, way above-average Vermentino.

Our tasting note: While we find most Vermentino on the market to be above average in general, they often fall under the ‘gulpable’ category. This one is different, it’s far more serious and intellectual. The aroma is that of the sea: docks, fishing boats, sea spray and sea salt dried on the rocks, a beach of crustaceans. The flavor is complex and persistent, with grip and panache. This can handle some serious flavors.

Food pairing: Lemon garlic shrimp pasta! Vermentino pairs perfectly with seafood and citrus, so this is a no-brainer.

Campuget “1753” Syrah 2022 – No Added Sulfites

Syrah is not getting the love it deserves, but this wine will convert the skeptics.

The identity problem that Syrah has run into was caused, I believe, by the over-extracted mega-Shirazes of Australia that became popular during the reign of Robert Parker and 100-point rating systems. Many of you started your wine journey during this time, and some of these monsters were so full-bodied that I’m amazed that our teeth are not still purple.

Syrah doesn’t want to be big. Syrah does not want to be heavy.

Syrah wants to be medium-bodied, spicy, and packed with complex red-black fruits and aromas. It also begs to be handled gently, like Pinot Noir, and that’s the magic of this particular wine.

Finding a wine with no added sulfites is rare because it’s a significant risk. Sulfites are not the enemy … they are a natural way to stabilize the wine and prevent all sorts of problems of bacteria and spoilage yeasts and have been used for centuries. (As I like to remind people constantly: there are more sulfites in a handful of dried apricots than in an entire case of wine. Don’t fear the sulfites!)

So why is Franck-Lin Dalle making this wine “Sans Soufré”? For two reasons. First, he wants the challenge. Second, sulfites denature a wine, chopping off exciting aromas and flavors around the edges. So to taste “true wine” in many ways, you need to play the no-sulfites added game.

Note that we are not saying sulfite-free! Sulfites are natural and a byproduct of fermentation. Even wines labeled in the USA as “Contains no detectable sulfites” can have up to 10ppm sulfites. Read that again and try to make sense of it. Welcome to alcohol laws in ‘Merica!

Our tasting note: aromas of dried blackberry and plum, graphite, minerals, lilacs, and smoky huckleberry. Medium bodied through and through, not heavy at all but very sturdy in style. Tannins are medium and persistent, but are blasted out by balanced acids at the finish. Absolutely terrific.

Food pairing ideas: Here are two approaches to a great dish with this wine.

First, a delicious rack of lamb. Syrah and lamb go together like cookies and milk, playing off the spice and core flavors of the Syrah in ways that help the flavor explode. This video is from Sam the Cooking Guy, one of my favorite channels on YouTube.

Second, if you’ve never seen the videos of Cowboy Kent Rollins, you’re in for a treat. Check out his smoked mac and cheese!

Buying advice

These are two stunning wines that are not dirt cheap but are not super expensive. They hit the sweet spot of price, top quality, and integrity.

Only 40 bottles of the Vermentino are available, sorry.

And only 12 bottles of the Syrah are available. Hardly any came to America, and only a trickle to Minnesota. That will change next year, but for now this is the moment to jump on this wine.

Thank you, everyone! We couldn’t do this without you!

Jason Kallsen
Sommelier and founder/owner of Twin Cities Wine Education

Offer is open Friday at 3:00pm central until Monday at 6:00pm central, or as inventory lasts.

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