01 Rhône Producer Steps Out Of The Shadows—Lavau Launches in U.S. Market – Frédéric Lavau
Lavau, a major producer of high quality Rhône wines, recently launched a range of Rhône wines in the U.S. market. Long a supplier to some of the most celebrated names in the Rhône, Lavau is now bottling its wines under its own label, with critically acclaimed examples in many of the Rhône’s major appellations. Lavau’s U.S. offerings include their single estate Le Carré Côtes du Rhône red and white, both of which received 90 point scores in the Wine Spectator in their first vintage (2010). Carré is French for “square” and the four sides can be seen to represent the four principles of Lavau: terroir, tradition, modernity and family. Other wines in Lavau’s U.S. portfolio include Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas (their best seller), Tavel, Vacqueyras, Rasteau (the newest cru in the Rhône Valley) and a range of varietal wines. In addition, Lavau has recently merged with Château Maucoil, a well-regarded property in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, acquiring a controlling share in that property.
02 Rhône Wines Steadily Gaining Popularity Among U.S. Consumers – Frédéric Lavau
Exports to the U.S. grew by more than 17% in 2011, the last year for which complete figures are available. Rhône ranks with Bordeaux and Burgundy as one of the three leaders of French wines for name recognition among U.S. consumers surveyed by Wine Opinions in 2011, with an awareness rate of 70%. And it is not just the most famous names that are becoming known, the same survey showed a 50% awareness rate for Hermitage and 39% for Côte-Rôtie. “Clearly, there is room in the U.S. market for more Rhône wines, including lesser-known wines like Gigondas, and almost unknown ones such as Tavel and Vacqueyras,” says M. Lavau. Originally from Bordeaux, the Lavau family was attracted to the Rhône in the 1960s. “Our family has been making wine in the Rhône for 40 years,” says Frédéric Lavau, 41, who, along with his brother Benoit, 37, have been running the family business since 2000. The brothers now own three estates in the southern Rhône Valley.
03 Four Generations, Two Families—Bodega Cuarto Dominio, Argentina – Andres Blanchard
Cuarto Dominio is a high-elevation boutique winery located in the Uco Valley, Argentina. The winery has been in operation producing authentic Malbec since 2006 under the direction of fourth-generation Mendoza winemaking family Catena Pedro. The Blanchard family tradition in viticulture dates back to 1911 when Andres’ great-grandfather, from the Savoy region in France, planted the first family vineyard in Mendoza. Andres has been with winery for some time but only recently joined Cuarto Dominio’s ownership team.
04 Bodega Cuarto Dominio, Mendoza Terroir-Driven Malbec – Andres Blanchard
Cuarto Dominio believes that to truly express their terroir in a wine, they must first get to know their vineyards and understand their soils. There is no recipe for such winemaking, but they have been taught three important ingredients that cannot be replaced: passion, patience and respect for the people that work in the vineyards and winery. Their families have grown vines and produced wines in the foothills of the Andes Mountains in Mendoza for over 100 years.