Pegau: From Chateuneuf-du-Pape to Cote-du-Rhone
In the last 50 years, so many wine trends have come and gone. But one thing has remained constant: Cotes-du-Rhone remains one of the best values on the planet.
Today, we go to the top of the Cotes-du-Rhone hierarchy. We have a villages-designated wine (above that designation, you are no longer a Cotes-du-Rhone, but rather something like Gigondas or a Vacqueyras), from old vines and a very famous producer: Pegau.
Pegau has family roots in Chateauneuf-du-Pape that go back hundreds of years, but the name only dates back to 1987, and it was taken from what the Pope called a jug of wine when he lived in nearby Avignon. Nobody really knows how to pronounce it. Even within the Feraud family (present owners), the father says “Puh-Gow” and the daughter says “Pay-Go”. Take your pick and don’t let anyone correct your pronunciation!
In much more recent times, the family added a Provencal Chateau with vineyards in the Cotes-du-Rhone appellation. Here, they make red wines using the same traditional techniques they use in Chateauneuf-du-Pape. It’s the same Grenache-dominated blend of grapes. They don’t bother destemming the grapes and fermentations are all natural. After the wine is made, they let it age in an enamel-lined tank.
The wine reflects the incredibly high quality you find in top Cotes-du-Rhones relative to their modest prices. The power and intensity is Chateauneuf-du-Pape like, but the lower level of ripeness (there are no heat-soaking galets in the vineyard) and the lack of oak keeps the wine fresher and more accessible. It’s really lovely.
Amazingly, Pegau recommends aging the wine for 5-10 years, a testament to its high quality. We don’t think you need to bother as we enjoy the wine thoroughly already – perhaps thanks to the three years of aging that has already passed.
Chateau Pegau Cotes-du-Rhone Cuvee Setier 2020 - $22.99
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