James Beard Best Chef’s CDP Dead-Ringer
The “Hameau des Roques” — a Rhône Valley staple from Vacqueyras — is a special selection of barrels that’s not even on offer if you were to visit the estate. The Château des Roques vineyards, less than 11 miles northeast of Châteauneuf, provide the next key to the quality. They’re principally planted on large caillou (pebbles) — similar to Châteauneuf’s famous galets — underneath which are soils rich in limestone deposits. The 2014 Château des Roques Vacqueyras “Hameau Des Roques” is a blend of Grenache, of which one-third are 80-year-old vines; old-vine Mourvèdre, half of which are aged in demi-muids; old-vine Cinsault, and a splash of Syrah — bottled unfiltered.
For years, we’ve been regulars of James Beard Award-winning chef Marco Canora’s Hearth restaurant in NYC’s East Village. The wine list was always curated by the legendary sommelier Paul Grieco, and has always been thoughtful and revelatory — carrying everyday gems and super showstoppers alike. Today, Grieco’s protégé, Christine Wright, is at the helm, and on her watch we were introduced to the 2014 Château des Roques “Hameau des Roques” — a special barrel selection, hand picked especially for Hearth — that we had never gotten around to ordering.
Paired with Chef Canora’s rustic Italian preparation of spring lamb, we were blown away. The wine was a meaty, red-fruited dead ringer for a top Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This is absolutely the bottle you want for summer grilling season, and it’ll last well into fall and winter’s cooler weather.