There are 300 cases of the 2016 Downstream, another new cuvée for Saxum. The wine represents the fruit of a collaboration between Justin Smith, Southern Rhône consulting enologist Philippe Cambie and their mutual friend Sasha Verhage. Downstream came about when Cambie expressed an interest in applying his approach with Grenache to Zinfandel. Smith vinifies the wines, then Cambie composes the blend. The inaugural vintage is indeed very evocative of Cambie’s work in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, despite the different cépage, offering up a pretty bouquet of ripe cherries, raspberry preserve, licorice, spice and spring flowers. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, expansive and supple, with attractively succulent fruit and a fine-grained, velvety finish. The blend is 76% Zinfandel, 8% Syrah, 6% Mataro, 6% Petite Sirah and 4% Tempranillo, and it’s being matured in used wood.

Success sometimes breeds complacency, but that’s emphatically not the case for Justin Smith, whose status as Paso Roble’s most celebrated winemaker has done nothing to dim his urge to experiment, evolve and improve. Without sacrificing any of their power and authority, both of which come easily in this warm climate, Smith’s Saxum wines continue to gain in structural refinement, energy, integration and incipient complexity with every passing vintage. Since the end of the last decade, Smith has been experimenting with whole cluster, a technique he tends to employ in cooler sites and vintages, since extracting excessive stem tannins is a danger in riper, warmer years. Fermentations are cooler and slower, which helps to manage extraction. While new oak was once an important influence in the Saxum wines, its presence is more and more subtle: Smith now works with puncheons instead of smaller barrels, and they’re complemented by amphorae and foudres. Since 2010, he has employed Roussanne for co-fermentations with Syrah in the place of Viognier, since it brings less additional power and alcohol. He also continues to refine and adapt his blends from year to year. Smith’s new cellar now means he has the space necessary to mature wines for longer. Today’s Saxum wines are accordingly better than ever. The only problem is finding them: I signed up for the mailing list in 2011, and Smith informs me that the current wait is around eight years. At Saxum, Smith characterizes the 2016 vintage as « easygoing and plentiful » after the challenges of the three preceding years of drought. The season’s heat spikes weren’t too serious, and fermentations went well. He employed less whole cluster than in 2015 but did very little crushing, emphasizing whole-berry fermentations. Having tasted most of these wines from barrel last summer, I was more than impressed by their positive evolution when I revisted them this April.

Sans titre_page_1image12016 PCP (Philippe Cambie Project) Philippe Cambie Project_page_1

GLENN VIEL et MR CHARIAL guide l’ Oustal de Baumanière Les Baux-de-Provence vers les sommets

Restaurant gastronomique

Au-delà de sa distinction, il s’agit d’un établissement mythique – créé en 1945 – qui s’inscrit dans l’histoire de la gastronomie française. Ce restaurant étoilé de Provence a marqué des générations de gourmets et séduit depuis toujours les têtes couronnées et les célébrités en quête d’un restaurant gastronomique en Provence d’exception.
Aux commandes du domaine de Baumanière Jean-André Charial continue de faire rayonner internationalement l’Oustau de Baumanière, ce restaurant étoilé en Provence, dont il est le digne héritier d’un grand-père visionnaire et exigeant, Raymond Thuilier.

L’entreprise familiale obtient sa première étoile au guide Michelin en 1949, sa  2ème étoile en 1952, puis sa 3ème étoile en 1954. La cuisine de ce restaurant gastronomique en Provence est désormais entre les mains du chef Glenn Viel.
Le jeune talent de 37 ans, passé par les cuisines de Marc Marchand et Yannick Alléno, apporte une touche de modernité. Sa cuisine va à lessentiel et met en valeur le goût unique de chaque produit du terroir. Il conjugue aujourd’hui les plats historiques de la maison à une créativité et sensibilité actuelles.

une cuisine inventive et exceptionnelle !!  un vrais regal , l’oustal devrait rapidement récupérer sa troisième etoiles !

pulpe de raisin noir, tartine de peau aux herbesIMG_1510

Comme une île flottante de calamars,
rouille d’une soupe, anchois fumés,
citron confit IMG_1508

Cuisses de grenouille,
riz de Camargue, échalote et ail noirIMG_1511

Rouget de roche,
asperges vertes, jus de têteIMG_1516

Le vrai cochon de lait,
voile de gras condimenté, jus au maïsIMG_1520

La Poire,
confite au miel, glace au lait, polleIMG_1530