Philippe Cartoux founded Domaine Espieres in 1989 when he started buying some small parcels of vines in his home town of Gigondas. He's a big believer in organic farming an putting in a lot of work in the vineyard so that he has top quality grapes to start from. To that end his vineyards are planted at unusually high densities; almost twice the average number of vines per acre in the Cotes du Rhone in order to drastically limit yields. His cotes du Rhone includes a large proportion of Mouvedre (20ish %) which gives the wine a deep, dark, slightly wild character while still preserving it's refined character. It's a very cleanly made, well mannered, beastly powerhouse of a wine. I really enjoy it's duel personality!
Aroma: ripe cherry, currant, fur, a hint of wood smoke, a hint of leather and cinnamon.
Palate: dark, spicy, peppery. It has a fresh vivid quality to the fruit that lingers on. There's a dense plum/roasted cherry character complemented by a dry, slightly salty, earth and persistent tannins on the finish.