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September 2018

La Roche Buissiere Flonflons

Vintage: 2014

Flonflons is a Cotes du Rhone made by Antoine and Pierre Joly.  Pierre took over managing this estate in the 70s and then Antoine followed him in 1999.  They've been organic since very early (early 80s?  late 70s?) but only started making all their own wines in 2003.  Roche Buissiere is located to the northeast of Vaison-La-Romaine.

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I have long loved their wine called Petit Jo and now I'm quite happy to have the Flonflons too.  The two wines are sort of mirror images of each other: both are fun, juicy, and joyful.  They're surprisingly more fresh and engaging than a lot of the hotter tasting and higher alcohol wines from producers in this dry and sunny area.  I've wondered for years why these wines were so much more dynamic and interesting.  The only and best answer is that Antoine and Laurence work extremely hard in the vineyards and try very hard to harvest at just the right time to get the flavors they want but no more sugar (and eventually alcohol) than they want.  At some point I was under the impression that Petit Jo was partial carbonic fermentation; now I'm not so sure. 

These two wines are supposed to have pretty much identical wine making.  That's 100% destemming, 15 days in primary fermentation, and then 6-8 months in cement.   But where Petit Jo is mostly Grenache with a bit of Syrah, the Flonflons is mostly Syrah with a bit of Grenache.  The Flonflons is imported by the excellent Zev Rovine and pretty much all this info was just lifted from his website here: https://zrswines.com/wine-producer/la-roche-bussiere/

Aromas:  The Flonflons is a more floral kind of aroma for a southern Rhone Syrah.  I get violets, lilacs, and some dried cherry.  It's a good very likable kind of Syrah nose.  It's the palate that's really the surprise though...

Taste:  On the palate the Flonflons is juicy and forward; lots of raspberry and cherry fruit that transitions from more dark cherry at first into then more clear raspberry on the finish.  The wine has bright acidity that is sort of a surprise for a Syrah, but it's perfectly balanced by the dark fruit, integrated dry tannins on the finish, and great peppery Syrah spice and heat on the finish.  This is a fun to drink, but interesting and well made Syrah!  And it's wild fermented and nothing added barring perhaps a touch of sulfur.  

Best of all the Flonflons is well under $20

Currently available at Maine and Loire and Meridians in Fairfield