A Favorite House Red Returns: Rich, Smooth, Earthy Rhône Blend. $19

We spend lots of time reading about French wine regions, following critical reviews and leafing through guides. But our favorite discoveries often come from time spent on the ground. One such pleasant surprise came from a wine list at a small outdoor bistro in Séguret a few years ago.

It took a few days to track down Eric Chauvin after that dinner, his Domaine Souverain has neither a road sign nor a website. But after several phone calls and a bit of luck we managed to find him, and we’re certainly glad we did. This year he even joined us for lunch at the same restaurant where we first discovered his wine.

Two years ago we sold through his 2014 Séguret in a matter of weeks. We missed out entirely on his 2015, which he ran through even more quickly. But this year we reserved ahead, and the excellent 2017 has just arrived in our warehouse. It’s a perfect house red — rich and smooth, earthy and interesting, and all for under $20.

The Domaine Souverain is a small-scale organic source in Séguret with no other US importer. Eric Chauvin is as humble as his wines are delicious. They’re intense and beautifully balanced Rhône blends that drink more like a Gigondas or Vacqueyras than the Côtes-du-Rhône pricing suggests.

Souverain’s 2017 is just lovely — it shows a bright nose of blackberry and lavender, with a cool earthiness that fans of the Mas Foulaquier will immediately recognize. The mouth is beautifully balanced, with softened but present tannins, clean dark fruit, and a faint smokiness in the nose.

With holiday guests on the way, this is as useful as a few plates of cookies — a rich, approachable, wintery red wine that drinks far above its weight.



Souverain Séguret 2017
bottle price: $19

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