Ondines Vacqueyras 2012, Rhone
This bottle is imported by and comes with the seal of approval from Wine Traditions in Falls Church Virginia. You don't need to know the personal history of an importer to make a decision about the quality of an imported wine but, in this case, because Vacqueyras is probably new to many of you, we thought we would make an introduction. Wine Traditions is the work of Ed and Barbara. We know them both from building our online shipping business in Arlington, Virginia. If not for Ed and Barbara, their guidance and their willingness to work with a start up company, we would have not been able to make high quality French wines available to our customers for affordable prices. And, about two months ago, we had the pleasure of seeing Ed here in our shop. We have come a long way but not without a lot of help. If you like the work of this importer or any other one, this is good information to keep in mind when you travel and don't know the selection at another shop. Ask for wines by your chosen importer. If you were to request wines by Wine Tradtions anywhere, it is hard to imagine that you would be disappointed.
This Rhone blend here received 89-90 points from Robert Parker. A neighbor of and close in style to Chateauneuf du Pape, this wine is a real value. The soil at the winery is either gravel based or blue clay sand stone safres. It is this soil that makes for concentrated fruit. The winemaker follows organic practices, uses very little oak, relies on traditional wine making methods and offers us manipulation free, fresh, real wine. Wine Traditions only brings in the best and best for your buck. So, now, without further adieu, may I introduce Ed and Barbara:
Wine Traditions Ltd. was created in 1996, the collaborative project of Edward Addiss and Barbara Selig. The philosophy of Wine Traditions is to discover independent winemakers whose passion for their vineyard and mastery of their winemaking craft combine to create a product that is a beautiful expression of the land from which it comes. They believe their portfolio demonstrates that wonderful wines can be found beyond well known appellations and need not be over priced. For them, wine is meant to be enjoyed with dinner, everyday and at prices that make it an appropriate component of the meal.
Ed majored in composition at Berklee College of Music and started working part time in wine shops to support his late night composing. Barbara studied Italian and Art History at Georgetown University. They met in New York soon after graduating and have been together ever since.
Ed continued in the wine business working for several importer/distributors in New York. Eventually Ed and Barbara had the idea to market New York wines locally; they wanted to promote the wines made where they lived. They traveled to wineries throughout Long Island, the Hudson Valley and the Finger Lakes, meeting and talking with producers, but it proved too difficult to get enough wineries to participate. Ed instead went to work for the San Francisco Wine Exchange, a pioneer in the marketing of independent wineries during the early days of the California local food and wine movement.
Ten years later Ed and Barbara were still eager to embark on their own project. Ed found the inspiration for Wine Traditions in an unlikely spot. On a sales call in a package store in the East Village, Ed agreed to buy a collection of “unsellable” old Crus Bourgeois Bordeaux from the owner. The wines were absolutely delicious; they were what Ed had first loved in wine. He began researching independent growers in Bordeaux which led to an exploration of the whole of Southwest France and the beginnings of Wine Traditions.
Ed takes a studied approach to developing his portfolio, marked by intensive research into geology, geography as well as the philosophy and approach of producers. The process is too laborious to allow them to cover more than a small area at a time. He and Barbara make multiple visits to an appellation in order to develop an appreciation for its potentialities before they make selections that they feel are representative of the area’s best qualities.
Ed and Barbara continue their passionate interest in supporting local food products and encouraging growth in local wine production. Ed serves on the Board of the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association which promotes the interests of domestic wineries. They see a working correlation between importing traditional wines from little known wine regions of France and engendering a vested culture of local food appreciation here in the US. By importing these wines they are preserving the culture of local wine making in France by enabling it to remain a viable economy, and, in a sense, they are importing that culture, the idea that making wine locally is culturally valuable and economically valid.
Wine Traditions currently works with 60 independently owned wineries. The wines feature indigenous varieties and are traditionally made, all following sustainable agriculture, many are organic and several follow biodynamic principles as well.
From the importer, Wines Traditions in Falls Church, Virginia. Set at the foot of Mont Ventoux, the vineyard known as “Buissonade” is located three kilometers from Vacqueyras. The 6 hectare vineyard is comprised of three parcels which include both hillsides and a rocky plateau that resembles the soils of “Plan de Dieu”. The Côtes du Rhône is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah. 60% of the Grenache vines were planted more than forty years ago. The Syrah is planted mostly on the rocky plateau, a terroir which severely limits the vineyard’s yields and is responsible for the dark and wild herb “garrigue”flavors in the wine.
From the importer, Wines Traditions, Falls Church, Virginia
The winemaker Jeremy Onde
Domaine Les Ondines is situated in the village of Sarrians in the heart of the Vacqueyras appellation. The Ondes own 6 hectares in Côtes du Rhône, 18 hectares in Vacqueyras, and 12 hectares in Côtes du Rhône Villages “Le Plan Dieu” which they farm “en fermage”. The family has grown grapes for many generations but Jérémy is the first generation to make and bottle the wine at the estate. Starting in 2008, Jérémy has farmed his vineyards in accordance with the principles of organic farming and he is awaiting certification.
Yields are kept exceptionally low and the emphasis is on keeping the purity of the fruit in the wines. In the summer of 2006 Barbara and I went to the Vacqueyras festival and I met Jeremy behind his stand. His wine was my favorite of the festival. In 2007 we went to visit him at his winery where we retasted the Vacqueyras and tasted the CDR and the Plan de Dieu. We were very impressed by the straightforwardness of his wines, the quality of fruit that he brings out and the overall balance of the wines.