The collective of producers behind Domaine & Maison Les Alexandrins is rooted in the historical winemaking families of France’s Rhone Valley. Nicolas Jaboulet is the sixth-generation of the wine family settled in Tain l’Hermitage since 1834; Guillaume Sorrel is the fifth-generation of Domaine Sorrel in Hermitage; the Perrins are owners of the world-renowned Chateau Beaucastel in the southern Rhone, and Alexandre Caso is an acclaimed viticulture specialist in the northern Rhone.
The resulting negotiant is derived of the merging of Maison Nicolas Perrin and Domaine Les Alexandrins in 2015.
Knowing the wines of Maison Nicolas Perrin from its inception, and the reputation of Domaine Sorrel, I anticipated a pleasing tasting of the wines from the newly christened Domaine & Maison Les Alexandrins. The surprise was the incredible good value of every wine.
The 2018 Cotes du Rhone Blanc Les Terrasses de L’Eridan and its red sibling in 2017 are quintessential everyday wines. The white pleases with its floral and lemon-y aromas and flavors from the blend of grenache blanc, viognier and marsanne. It’s perfect for quaffing on a warm day, or accompanying a dish of garlicky Provencal shrimp and couscous.
The red releases black cherry, cranberry and herbal aromas and flavors with a touch of minerality that makes it ideal sipping with a country pate, or a classic Rhone Valley dish of saucission, lentils and fennel, dressed with olive oil and seasoned with rosemary and marjoram.
Both of these tasty wines scored 89 points, and retail for $16 to $19.
The 2018 Viognier captures the grape’s pronounced white-floral scent with a lime element that stimulates the nose and mouth. Its noticeable alcohol was distracting on the first taste, but disappeared when paired with a bowl of spaghetti and pesto. 89 points. Retail price is $13 to $17.
The 2018 Syrah carries the Vin de France appellation, France’s most recent upgraded category of table wines. You’ll find this wine noteworthy for its intense blackberry, mulberry and granite aromas, and the soft supporting tannins that line the blackberry and black licorice flavors with a streak of minerality for which northern Rhone Valley syrah-based wines are prized. Its deliciousness is surpassed only by the remarkable low price. It’s everything you need for your house red wine. 93 points. Retail prices range from $13 to $16.
Croze-Hermitage is a red wine that I rarely want to drink on its own, but is usually a good mate with red meats. That was reinforced by the opaque 2017 Croze- Hermitage with its black-cherry and pronounced smoky, toasted nose. Its black fruit and black tea flavors were lined with a stony, mineral backbone that left my palate wanting something to caress it. The Colorado lamb loin chops I had with it massaged the wine into a pleasant submission. 90 points Retails for a very reasonable $20 to $31.
Saint-Joseph is the largest appellation in the Rhone Valley. Located opposite of Croze-Hermitage, which has more vineyards, French wine regulations permit up to 10% white grapes in Saint-Joseph, which softens an otherwise natural rustic character.
The 2016 Saint-Joseph explodes with aromas of blackberry, black olive and thyme. Its deep, rich flavors of blackberry, rosemary and thyme are supported with a sharp mineral, stony texture—a style that reminds me of zinfandel grown in California’s mountainous areas—that’s not for faint palates. But it plays well with grilled sausages, or a traditional Rhone grilled leg of lamb rubbed with rosemary and studded with garlic. 92 points. Retail price is $50 to $55.
Cornas is a minuscule appellation just south of Saint-Joseph. What the two don’t share in size, they resemble in style, yet Cornas is more prestigious. The vineyards of both are on a granite bed forcing the vine’s roots deep into the soil, creating a mineral core in the wine. The 2016 Cornas is black-cherry-colored and scented with a mild chocolate and herbal accent. Ripe, blackberry flavor mingles with a chocolate taste, and integrated tannins give the wine a youthful approachability. It partnered well with my sautéed duck breast. 92 points. Retail prices are $53 to $70.
For lovers of French wines, Domaine & Maison Les Alexandrins combines the prestige of heritage winemaking, true Rhone Valley character and excellent quality at a variety of approachable price points.
Photos by John Foy