Vinsobres is a relative newcomer on the Southern Rhone scene that is producing some very nice wines. For many years wines from this area were simply Cotes-du-Rhone, but after many years of effort Vinsobres was given its own AOC status in 2005. Domaine Constant-Duquesnoy was established around the same time by Gerard Constant and Denise Duquesnoy who acquired the former Domain Les Ausselons and developed the great potential that was in the vineyard there.
The vineyard itself ranges from about 800 to 1350 feet in altitude, with 3/4 of the land being steeply sloped with terraced vines. The earth is a mix of alluvial soils and limestone pebbles that is planted with 65% Grenache and 35% Syrah with the age of the vines ranging from 6 to 50 years. In a short amount of time, the Domaine has put out some really good offerings, and the 2008 Vinsobres is no exception.
The Domaine Constant-Duquesnoy Vinsobres 2008 is an almost opaque, very dark red in your glass. The nose brings cassis and some plum with undertones of leather and earth. On the palate you get beautiful blackberry fruit initially that is followed by some very pleasant stony minerality on the finish. The wine is full bodied without being overdone or syrupy which is somewhat surprising considering the 15% alcohol content, and the tannins are very well integrated.
Overall, this wine is a really nice value that I picked up for about $18. The nose is a little restrained and just teases you with its potential, but once you drink it the blackberry fruit explodes on your palate and is backed up by perfect tannins and the stony element. This would be absolutely delicious with an herbed rack of lamb on the grill.