Walter McKinlay and family bought Domaine de Mourchon and, at the time, its 17 hectares (42 acres) of old vines up on the stoney hillsides (at about 350 metres altitude) of the breathtakingly picturesque Les Dentelles de Montmirail in 1998. They immediately got to work on constructing a new winery, as the vine-land was previously owned by a co-op grower so there wasn't a cellar, in time for the following year's vintage. Being noticed by American wine critic Robert Parker, publisher of the Wine Advocate, among many others probably hasn't done them any harm, nor for the reputation of the relatively recent Côtes du Rhône Villages subzone of Séguret. This cute wee old village lies to the northeast of Avignon not far from Gigondas or Rasteau. The McKinlays also have a handsome-looking Provencal stone gite available for holiday rentals, standing right next to the cellar (handy for a little in situ sampling): see website link below. I actually went to the estate, on a day-tour of the lesser-known southern Rhone wilderness way back in 2003 (the year they purchased a few more vineyards in fact), and met Walter for the first time; and had the opportunity to catch up with him and taste his latest vintages and releases a few months ago at the London International Wine Fair. My thoughts back then (click here to read an article written at the time, scroll right down to the bottom almost) were probably on the lines of "quite good wines with much more potential," and trying them again nearly 10 years later confirmed that they do indeed merit the attention of our Rhone Valley tinged taste buds.
2011 La Source white Côtes du Rhône (35% Grenache blanc, 25% Roussanne, 15% Marsanne, 15% Viognier, 10% Clairette and Bourboulenc) - rich honeyed vs floral and mineral touches, full and rounded vs juicy and crisp, attractive style.
2011 Loubié rosé Séguret Côtes du Rhône Villages (60% Grenache, 40% Syrah from 40 year-old vines) - attractive creamy red fruits vs juicy and crisp mouth-feel, very quaffable rosé and quite elegant actually.
2010 Côtes du Rhône red (60% Grenache, 40% Syrah from 40 year-old vines) - nice fruity juicy spicy style, hints of black cherry and liquorice with a bit of grip vs attractive peppery fruit underneath. €6.25 cellar door.
2009 Tradition Séguret Côtes du Rhône Villages (65% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 10% Carignan from 40 year-old vines) - funky nose with rustic edges vs rich and dark side, pretty firm still vs lush mouth-feel and savoury flavours to finish.
2010 Grande Réserve Séguret Côtes du Rhône Villages (65% Grenache, 35% Syrah from 60 year-old vines) - closed up on the nose to start, leads on to a very concentrated palate with solid structure, firm vs lush vs spicy finish; serious wine, closes up again on the finish but very promising.
2009 Family Reserve Syrah Séguret Côtes du Rhône Villages (100% Syrah from 60 year-old vines) - pretty chocolate oaky to start with layered with thick texture of concentrated peppery black fruits, that oak blends in in the end thanks to its very rich vs solid framework. Wow.
2010 Family Reserve Grenache Séguret Côtes du Rhône Villages (100% Grenache from 60 year-old vines) - not much on the nose initially, moving on to lovely pure peppery Grenache fruit, 'sweet' and lush vs punchy and firm-textured, again very concentrated. Wow-er.