By: Keith Mabry
K&L Staff Member
Our newest arrival from the Rhone Valley is from father and son team, Jacques and Julien Coipel. Our initial contact came through email when Julien reached out through our website and thought K&L might make a good partner in the US. He sent along samples and we were immediately pleased with the quality. Everything showed vibrant purity of fruit and great Rhone expression. When selecting new producers to work with though, just making a delicious wine is not the only thing we're focused on; we have plenty of delicious wine. At the time, we were planning our spring buying trip in a couple of months, so we asked Julien to be patient and we would come see the vineyards and meet with him while visiting the the area. Very accommodating, he held back from presenting the wine elsewhere and when the time came, welcomed us to the winery and gave us a brief tour of his surrounding vineyards. We got the details of farming practices, terroir, vinification, et al, out of the way and all were more than satisfactory. We tasted the wines again and of course they showed even better (home field advantage of course). A lot of our relationships are based on personality. For me, when I make a choice the wine needs to meet these criteria: the wine has to be good, it has be correct, it has be distinct and it has to reflect the personality of the person or persons making it. Julien is serious minded. He is focused on making the wines at Mas de Sainte Croix serious wines. And there the deal was struck. We took a whole range of wines from the Cotes du Rhone (featured in our CLUB), the beautifully distinct white (which drinks more like a Crozes Hermitage Blanc), the Quintessence (the top cuvee) and of course the "Passion." The Passion capture the essence of this producer. It reflects the northern placement of these vineyards in the Cotes du Rhone with the purity and expression of the fruit. It also reflects the beauty of the 2015 vintage in spades lining up with some of our greatest hits so far like St. Cosme and Verquiere. Rich but not heavy, it is as distinct and serious as Julien himself. This particular wine is probably my favorite in his entire line-up because it is ultimately one of the most satisfying and serious reds I have had from the Rhone in quite some time.