They're Back ... The Over-Achieving Wines from Domaine Camp Galhan!

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Lionel Pourquier
Three years ago we ‘discovered’ Domaine Camp Galhan, producers of divine red and white Vin de Pays Duché d’Uzès and Vin de Pays d’Oc from the heart of the vast Languedoc-Roussillon wine region in southern France. We ran across Lionel Pourquier, (co-owner along with his brother Alain and operator of the winery), when he was sharing a booth with Patrick Chabrier of Domaine Chabrier Fils at the VinIsud wine fair in Montpellier. We had time to kill, so we tried his wines and were totally enchanted. We weren’t the only ones. Robert M. Parker, Jr. remarked in issue 173 of the ‘Wine Advocate’, “Lionel and Alain Pourquier defy their entitlement to only a Vin de Pays appellation with wines of extraordinary value.”

We thoroughly enjoyed the last batch of Camp Galhan wines we imported, so much so that we asked Lionel if he had any more. Good news! He still had a small amount of the 2013 Rosé, the 2013 Amanlie Blanc and the 2011 Les Grès Rouge (also available in magnums) which he has put on hold for us. In addition to these marvels, we are introducing two new wines, the 2014 Chardonnay and the 2013 Les Pérassières Rouge. And, Lionel has created a mixed case sampler that contains two of bottles the fabulous Les Grés and one each of the other four featured wines.

Domaine Camp Galhan

Located near the commune of Ribaute les Tavernes, which is between Nîmes and Alès, the Camp Galhan vineyard is situated high above the banks of the Gardon River in the foothills of the bucolic Cévennes Mountains. The winery gets its name from the Roman camp, ‘Galhan’, that was located next to the present winery. The 40 hectare property and vineyards have been in the Pourquier family since the early twentieth century and they have long been renowned for their superb grapes that were sent each year to the local co-op. But Lionel and Alain tired of giving their great grapes to the co-op only to have them make mediocre wine. So, in 2001 they built a modern winery into the side of a hill, designed so that gravity moves the grapes and juice during vinification (thus avoiding the use of harsher mechanical pumps) and started to produce their own wines.

Your hard-working tippler with the Pourquier’s treasures
As they say, at least eighty percent of great wine- making occurs in the vineyard. The Pourquiers have worked hard to isolate the best vineyard sites in the hillsides above the valley and to update their winemaking techniques. They farms their vineyards using organic methods in the ‘lutte raisonnée’ (the reasoned struggle in English – basically, an absolute minimum use of chemicals; but not quite organic) manner and green harvests in the spring to decrease yields. Lionel then hand selects only the best fruit to go into his wines, which most recognize as being among the very best in the region (along with Domaine Chabrier Fils and Les Vignes du Lys, to our way of thinking!).  

By the way, in addition to great asparagus, Lionel also grows durum wheat in the valley which he sells to high-end pasta producers, most in Italy.

The Glorious Wines of Domaine Camp Galhan

We are truly delighted to bring you the vinous treasures from Domaine Camp Galhan. These are the 2013 Rosé; two whites – the 2014 Chardonnay and the 2013 Amanlie Blanc; two reds – the 2012 Pérassières Rouge and 2011 Les Grès Rouge, and; The Camp Galhan Sampler that gives you a taste of all six. Each is drinking wonderfully now, but the reds will reward you with a year or two of patience.  They come in convenient six-bottle cases. We will be taking your orders for these really, really good wines to the LCBO on Friday, February 27th.


2013 Rosé Duché d’Uzès - 13.5% Alc./Vol.                                       $19/$114 per case of six
This refreshing beauty, an AOP Duché d’Uzès is crafted from 60% Grenache noir and 40% Syrah from vines averaging over 30 years of age. The yield was only 35 hl/ha. Made using the saignée method (basically, left in contact with the grape skins for a short time and then drawn off), it is a lovely salmon colour and offers up aromas of fresh red fruit, wet pebbles and a little citrus. In the mouth the scents persist. It is quite complex, medium-bodied and nicely crisp. As the cépages (grape varietals in the blend) would suggest, this is a serious rosé that will go very well with food such as Thai cuisine and baked ham. Of course, it will also be a great sipper on those sultry days of summer (remember them?).  Order your pristine potion of pink pulchritude now.

2014 Chardonnay – 13.0% Alc./Vol.                                                            $19/$114 per case of six
This dry, crisp marvel is fashioned from 100% Chardonnay lovingly raised on vines more than twenty-seven years old. It is a brilliant yellow colour with golden highlights. This beauty sees no oak. On the nose it offers up expressive aromas of apples, tropical fruits and a hint of white flowers. It is very smooth and elegant in the mouth where the apple and passion fruit sensations persist joined by a nice minerality. It is round, generous and surprisingly long on the finish. Served around ten degrees Celsius, it will go wonderfully well with fish terrines, mussels marinière, grilled white fish and poultry, particularly turkey. Or, it will serve nobly as a most delightful sipping wine whenever the occasion presents itself. This is meant to be consumed young – over the next year or two. Order your most refreshing white delight now.

2013 Amanlie Blanc – 13.5% Alc./Vol.                                             $22/$132 per case of six
The lovely 2013 Amanlie Blanc is made from 60% Viognier, 30% Grenache Blanc and 10% Roussanne. The vines average more than 20 years of age and the average yield is only 30 hl/ha. This delicious AOP Duché d’Uzès is a clear golden colour with glints of lime green. On the nose there are pronounced aromas of peaches, grapefruit, rich tropical fruit, apricots, acacia and honeysuckle.  It is round and powerful in the mouth, flavourful with excellent balance, dry and crisp. This is simply delicious – jam-packed with mouth-watering  flavours, beautifully made and completely satisfying. Ready to drink as soon as you get it, it will keep nicely for the next three years. It will go wonderfully with roast chicken, lobster bisque, fried fish, vegetarian pasta dishes and most shellfish. I just love it! Order your glorious white wonder now.

2013 Pérassières Rouge – 13.7% Alc./Vol.                                       $22/$132 per case of six
The 2012 Pérassières is composed of 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache, the mainstay varietals of southern France. The vines average 28 years of age and the yield is only 45 hl/ha. It sees no oak. This IGP Duché d’Uzès is a crimson colour with purple highlights and offers up aromas of strawberries, blackberries, new leather, pepper, cherry jam, liquorice and exotic spices. In the mouth it is smooth, round, medium-bodied and lively with excellent length and impressive tannins. This luscious, unfiltered, unoaked wine seems to have been bestowed upon us by the barbeque gods. Drinking delightfully now, it will age gracefully for at least another five years.  Order your classic southern French red now.

2011 Les Grès Rouge - 13.0% Alc./Vol.  750ml Bottles $23/$138 per case of six
Magnums $48/$288 per case of six
The splendid 2011 Les Grès Rouge is made from 80% Syrah and 10% each of Grenache and Carignan averaging 16 years of age with a yield of but 35 hl/ha. It rested in new and used oak barrels for almost a year. This IGP Duché d’Uzès is a deep purple/red colour and throws out beguiling aromas of leather, tar, liquorice, blackberries, black pepper, cocoa and wet stones. In the mouth it is full, round and supple, beautifully balanced with a spicy aftertaste. My tasting notes conclude with “lovely stuff”. This tour de force achievement by the Pourquiers won a gold medal at the 2014 Concours Vignerons Independants. It will go just perfectly with a rack of lamb, coq au vin, mushroom tart, medium cheese and roast rabbit. We adore it! Drinking splendidly at the moment, it will last until at least 2020, particularly in the magnum format. Order your 750 ml bottles or Magnums of this completely amazing red from Domaine Camp Galhan now.

The ‘Camp Galhan’ Sampler - 13.5% Alc./Vol.                                $22/$132 per case of six
This is a great way to try all five of the Domaine Camp Galhan vinous treasures. You get a bottle each of the 2013 Rosé, 2014 Chardonnay, 2013 Amanlie Blanc, and 2013 Pérassières Rouge and two bottles of the 2011 Les Grès Rouge. I do hope that every one of our members will order this Sampler to taste for themselves the great values that come from Camp Galhan and southern France. Order your six-pack of pure drinking pleasure now.

Important Note
The LCBO is the only entity authorized to sell beverage alcohol in Ontario. Arthur Sellers & Company and Arthur’s Cellar Wine Club do not sell or markup beverage alcohol, but rather, arrange for customers to purchase it from the LCBO. Our prices indicated above and on our website include the LCBO sale price plus a fee to cover the cost of sourcing, handling and marketing the wine. The LCBO’s sale prices are available on request.

LCBO Delivery Notices!

The LCBO has started to mail out delivery notices to all our Members who order wine. This notice is being sent when the wine has arrived from overseas and has been cleared for delivery by the LCBO. The form letter is two sided, one with the numeric details of the transaction and the other with pick-up instructions. Please note - the pick-up instructions do not apply to our Members.

Why?

First, they instruct our Member to pick up the wine at the LCBO’s warehouse loading docks at 33 Freeland Street in Toronto. Our Members don’t have to do this – we either cause the wine to be sent to an LCBO retail store that is conveniently located near our Member or we personally deliver the wine.

Second, they infer that our Members owe them for the wine and warn that they will be penalized if the wine is not picked up within a prescribed period of time. Our Members have already paid for their wine and don’t owe any additional money. We look after payment for them.

Please disregard these form letters when you receive them.

We have requested that the LCBO either correct the message or not send it at all. We also asked that they send the message electronically (they have the e-mail addresses of everyone who orders) to save money and be environmentally responsible. They have thanked us for our suggestions and we hope they will act on them.

Why is the LCBO sending out these notices?

When we inquired, we were told that this has always been their procedure; they just haven’t been following it.

We can surmise that it is in response to last year’s ruling by the Information and Privacy Commission of Ontario (IPC) ruling that the LCBO stop taking personal information from wine club customers. In a subsequent Ontario Superior Court of Justice appeal hearing, the case was remitted back to the IPC for reconsideration, i.e., the LCBO and the other involved parties were told to work out their issues between themselves. A key point in the ruling was, “it is not clear whether the IPC actually made a clear or consistent finding on the issue of whether the LCBO's customer is the club or the club member.” Since then, the LCBO has been determined to make certain that we are all fully aware that it is they who control the customer relationship when it comes to the purchase of beverage alcohol in the Province of Ontario.

To reinforce this point, they have instructed us to prominently post the following wherever we display our prices:

The LCBO is the only entity authorized to sell beverage alcohol in Ontario. Arthur Sellers & Company and Arthur’s Cellar Wine Club do not sell or markup beverage alcohol, but rather, arrange for customers to purchase it from the LCBO. Our prices indicated above and on our website include the LCBO sale price plus a fee to cover the cost of sourcing, handling and marketing the wine. The LCBO’s sale prices are available on request.

If you have any comments for the LCBO, please address them to Margaret Plant, Supervisor, Private Ordering (margaret.plant@lcbo.com) and copy Archie Karanxha, Acting Manager, Specialty Services (arqile.karanxha@lcbo.com) and Geoff Allaire, General Manager Operations, Toronto Retail Service Centre, Vintages Warehouse (geoff.allaire@lcbo.com).

All this reminds me of a very old joke. It seems that a little devil was involved in a most unfortunate tangle with one of Toronto’s Red Rockets that resulted in his tail being severed. He was rushed to the Toronto General Hospital but was refused admission. The ER receptionist explained, “I am afraid you will have to take him to the LCBO ... they are the only ones in Ontario allowed to retail spirits.”


Kate joins the team!
We are delighted to announce that our eldest daughter Kate (shown here with a bottle of Penfolds Grange from her birth year!) has officially joined the Arthur Sellers & Company team. She is an avid wine enthusiast with a very fine palate and is renowned for her frequent thirsty assaults on Arthur’s Cellar. Kate will be assisting us with the day-to-day operation of our wine club and will introduce our fine wines to her market demographic (recognizing that this old tippler needs a little help marketing to the younger aficionados of the fruit of the vine). Please join us in welcoming Kate to our wonderful world of wine.

Come Join Us in Provence this September
Hélène is taking reservations for September 2015. Long our favourite part of France, Provence is filled with so many wonderful things - marvellous markets, gorgeous perched villages, exquisite Mediterranean cuisine as well as the Mediterranean itself, a bevy of awe-inspiring Roman ruins, medieval towns, olive oil mills, Southern Rhône vineyards, sophisticated cities with great shopping, and constantly changing, spectacular scenery. And, you get to spend it all comfortably ensconced in your very own castle for a week, the enchanting Château du Goult. Maybe even get a group of friends to join you. That way, Hélène can massage her itinerary to meet your specific interests.


Where’s My Wine??
Generally, it will take three to four months from the time you order your wine till it is delivered. To find out where your next treasure is on its long journey from Europe, just click on Delivery Status in the side bar to the left. We update it regularly.

About our website

Our web site will grow and change as we respond to the needs and preferences of our members. We appreciate the time you take to tell us about how we can improve our web site, and invite you to pass your comments and suggestions along to us. Click here to send us an e-mail and let us know what you think.