I thought some lamb kefta and other hearty Lebanese fare might be a good foil for some big young wines from Southern France.  

2015 Domaine de Fondrèche ‘Divergente’.  This is an old-vines Syrah cuvee from the Ventoux region, east of Chateauneuf-du-Pape.  A serious producer with a pretty good website, this wine is a reference point for the region according to several of the authorities.  Never tried it before.

The darkest purple of the three, as would be expected from the syrah.  Hints of dark fruit, not very fragrant, nor very expressive in the mouth.  Noticeable alcohol in the finish.  Just not showing much and I sure do not see this evening where all these 95+ scores are coming from.

It will next go into a flight with Clos des Truffiers and La Peira, which should be closer peers.  I’ll try to give it some air first.

2015 Domaine du Grapillon d’Or Gigondas ‘Excellence’.  I bought this recently at a large supermarket tasting where it showed well amongst a pretty pedestrian lineup.  Tank-aged, old-vine Grenache-Syrah from what seems like a conscientious producer that I didn’t know before.

Quiet, ripe dark fruit nose, prune.  Dark, licorice and mineral palate really not giving much.  The wine seems very closed and I am not getting much from it at all.  To be fair, the winemaker said it needed age or a good decant, which I did not give it.

2015 Domaine de la Janasse Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes.  One of the top addresses in the region and among the few Chateauneufs that I have continued to buy occasionally over the last decade.  Immediately much more fragrant than the first two, super-ripe jammy fruit.  Fresher than the others also, good balance.  A much more expressive wine than the others, two good notches above.  Probably will gain complexity with some age.

A little disappointing overall.  I wanted to like these more, but the first two were really just kind of dull and mute.  These are the kinds of wines the ageability of which I am questioning – but if I am right about that and I don’t enjoy them young either, well then that’s an easy decision.  I’ll try giving them a good couple hours of air next time.