Demanding Palates

Tardieu Laurent Les Becs Fins 2009

Tardieu Laurent Les Becs Fins 2009 pleases discerning wine lovers.

by Jan Walsh  Photography by Beau Gustafson

Years ago, my first red wine “ah ha” moment was a Côtes-du-Rhône. One taste and my palate was beyond pleased. I stocked the cellar with the wine. And I drank most of it at its peak, a few years later—when I was even more pleased with its marvelous evolution.

In Southern France, the term Les Becs Fins is used to describe “demanding palates or gourmand.” Rhone winemaker Michael Tardieu’s style of crafting artisanal cuvées with a new-world style earned him the title of “Haute Négoce. Tardieu both handcrafted and appropriately named the name Tardieu Laurent’s Les Becs Fins.”

Tardieu-Laurent is located in Lourmarin, in the heart of the Luberon. Here Tardieut crafts approximately 17 wines each year. He sources grapes from the best regions and vineyards, where no chemicals or artificial fertilizers are used. The wines are cellared in Burgundy style barrels—each having been treated according to the style of wine it will hold—before being bottled by hand without filtration, further preserving the purity of the grapes and the terroir.

Tardieu Laurent Les Becs Fins 2009 ($19) is an elegant wine crafted of 50 percent Syrah (60-year-old vines) and 50 percent Grenache (20-year-old vines). It is medium in body, fruit forward with notes of blackberry and red cherry. And it has nice acidity and smooth tannins. Drink now or cellar for several years..

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