|Patrick Lesec Selections (Southern Rhône)|
Patrick makes great efforts to search out the finest terroirs, the best soils with old vineyards — and thus the finest sources of grapes — in each appellation. These are often growers who own parcels of the best sites, but who may not bottle wine under their own label. Historically, these growers have sold their production to negociants who blend and market their own cuvées.
Once Patrick has located and made agreements with these growers, he works closely with them to produce the highest quality possible using his principles of non-interventionist winemaking. First, he tastes through all the barrels and tanks and makes a strict selection of components he wishes to blend into his final cuvee. The variables in this process include different grape varieties, different vineyard sites, and even different lots of the same wines (since each tank or barrel has its own unique character).
Once the lots have been selected for the final blend, Patrick specifies how he wants the élevage done. Some lots will be kept in tank to preserve the freshness of their fruit; others will be aged in barrels to add richness, texture and complexity. He continues to visit the cellars and taste the lots to monitor their progress. Adjustments are made, as necessary or desirable.
Patrick's cuvées are usually treated with as little sulphur as possible. The wines are not fined or filtered, and are hand-bottled where possible.
Patrick's cuvées of Châteauneuf du Pape, Gigondas, Cairanne, Rasteau and Vacqueyras clearly reflect the style of their respective appellations and terroirs. They have in common lovely aromatics, a distinctive purity of fruit flavors, soft, round tannins and long, pleasant finishes. His cuvées are fresh, natural and vibrant. They generally represent great values.
From the Wine Advocate, #179 (Oct 2008): "Patrick Lesec’s negociant operation is artisanal in nature, small, well-focused, and consistently reliable. The high point of the portfolio is unquestionably his Chateauneuf du Papes. Yet the low level wines are also worth checking out. Lesec’s 2006 Chateauneuf du Papes are all successful. " © The Wine Advocate
From the Wine Advocate, #173 (Oct 2007): “I can’t speak highly enough of the job that Patrick Lesec does as a negociant, putting together interesting and high quality blends of Cotes du Rhones and Chateauneuf du Papes. He seems to have a talent for finding top quality sources for old vine Grenache, and his philosophy of bringing wines up is one of minimal intervention in a reductive environment with little exposure to oxygen. That’s important, because his wines often take a few years after bottling to strut their stuff. I have been very impressed with how the wines do perform in bottle, having purchased 1998s, 2000s, and 2001s, all of which seem to come into their own at about age four or five. I also noticed that his 2005s generally showed better out of bottle than they did last year prior to bottling.” © The Wine Advocate
From the Wine Advocate, #156 (Dec 2004): "Patrick Lesec continues to demonstrate a confident ability to access old vine vineyards as well as high quality producers. The result of his labors are natural, unmanipulated wines that, for the most part, are bottled unfined and unfiltered with low levels of sulphur. Moreover, there are some super values in his portfolio, which seems to grow larger year by year. With the exception of the less expensive offerings, most of these cuvees are limited to 400-600 cases.... Patrick Lesec's ability to produce so many interesting Cotes du Rhone cuvees is impressive, but he is at the top of his game in Chateauneuf du Pape, which he recognizes as an appellation with many phenomenal terroirs. His Chateauneufs, which are made reductively, with low sulphur, and no fining or filtration, often go through a dumb period after bottling. Much to my disappointment, I have found that these wines are largely unimpressive for 1-2 years after bottling. After that, they magically develop as originally predicted. For example, the 1998s are only now beginning to strut their stuff after being completely closed for three years." © The Wine Advocate
From the Wine Advocate, #145 (Feb 2003): "As the tasting notes for the 30+ wines indicate, wine broker Patrick Lesec has sourced some extraordinary juice, which he has given state of the art, non-interventionalistic upbringing. His wines are moved gently from the estate he buys from (sometimes cooperatives) , generally put in tank or barrel, given little SO2, no racking, and are bottled without fining and filtration. Quantities of these cuvees range from 200 cases to nearly 2,000 cases of some of the less expensive Cotes du Rhones. Lesec, who was one of The Wine Advocate’s wine personalities of the year, deserves high praise for the remarkable quality of his offerings from many Southern Rhone appellations. My experience (which began with the 1998 vintage) has indicated that these wines are actually better after they have been bottled, when they are significantly more complex and richer, a tribute to his non-interventionalistic winemaking philosophy. As always the truth is in the bottle.... Consumers should be thankful that there is someone as conscientious and hardworking, as well as so realistic in his pricing policy as Patrick Lesec. It was for those reasons that he was named one of The Wine Advocate’s personalities of the year for 2002. These offerings admirably reflect his tremendous talents." © The Wine Advocate
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