ROUCAS TOUMBA la grande terre vacqueyras 2017
Opaque ruby. Aromas of ripe red and blue fruit, spicecake and candied flowers; a smoky mineral element adds verve and lift. Sweet, palate-staining black raspberry, allspice and lavender flavors become deeper as the wine opens up. Suave, seamless and lively in character, finishing with zesty mineral cut and supple tannins that are quickly absorbed by the lingering fruit. -- Josh Raynolds
about the producer
the name of the property - roucas toumba comes from the fallen stones in the area. the domaine has been in the family since 1723 and covers a modest 3 hectares of parcels in the southern rhone village of vacueryras. with barely a thousand inhabitants, vacqueyras has nearly 200 winegrowers. like eric's father, most of the village’s growers sell to the local wine cooperative.
eric bouletin's father died when he was 15, and one year later he left school to help his mother at the domaine. the family had sold the grapes to the co-op until 2000 when eric began to make his own wine. eric produces around 1,100 cases of wine annually from 3ha of old vine (some planted in 1915) grenache, syrah and mourvedre with yields of about 30hl/ha.
in taking over the family business, eric chose to follow the example of may in france's natural wine movement, and has been farming and working in the cellar without chemicals, synthetics, or commercial additives since day one. roucas toumba (named for the area’s fallen rocks) employs few new barrels in order to produce sublime, mineral driven wines.
eric's other guiding principle is the contact he has with his vines. he spends as much time as possible in the vineyards, undertaking much of the work by hand. with his 16ha, this is thankfully still just feasible. in certain parcels of grenache, where the vines are over 80 years old, this is really the only option.
vacqueras has always somewhat suffered from its position as "petit frere" to the more illustrious nearby appellation chateauneuf-du-pape. this collective inferiority complex is without foundation in this village which is producing outstanding wines, particularly since achieving cru status in 1990.