PICK of the RACK: Domaine Philippe Plantevin | “Le Perussier” | Unoaked | Côtes du Rhône | France | 2012 | $17 | 88 pts

Philippe PlantevinDomaine Philippe Plantevin is a family-owned vineyard and winery located in the tiny, ancient village of Cairanne, in the southern Rhone Valley. The soils here are typically calcareous clay, composed of silty chalk and limestone. Wines from such soils tend to show prominent minerality balanced with vivid fruit, and this “Le Perussier” bottling, named for a pear tree that stands adjacent to the seven-acre vineyard plot where its fruit was sourced, is a fitting rendition of the style. A blend of Grenache (60%) and Syrah (40%), the wine is vividly aromatic of crushed stone, lavender, and thyme; with flavors that suggest fresh-picked, tart blackberries, dried oregano, and blood orange peel. It is dry and pleasantly tart (we could even detect the tartness on the nose), with mild tannins and mouth-watering acids. The wine, interestingly, was aged only in concrete tanks (an ancient method now returning to fashion among some winemakers) with no oak exposure whatsoever, so it comes across as fresh and pure on the palate. It would serve as a casual yet lively accompaniment to medium- to sharp cheeses, charcuterie, and light summer and picnic fare. (14% ABV)

Availability: Domaine Philippe Plantevin produced 333 cases of this wine, and importation into the United States is limited. We found it at Cordial Wine and Spirits at Union Market in Washington, D.C. Visit them virtually at www.cordialwine.com for availability.

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