On the Trail

Library of the Past

David Driscoll

It's been more than twenty years since we first began working with Rudy de Pins of Château Montfaucon, the most popular Rhône producer we've ever carried in our forty-plus year history as a retailer. There are many advantages in working directly with a wine producer, rather than simply selecting from the stocks of local distribution. First off, you cut out the middleman and get the consumer a better price. Secondly, you get to make your own determinations as to which selections the market might respond to, rather than rely solely on the taste of the importer. Perhaps the greatest of advantages, however, is the privilege of picking through a property's personal inventory of library wines — an opportunity that typically happens only after many years of doing business together. Who wouldn't want to select pristine bottles, aged under perfect cellar conditions, directly from the château, for prices that eliminate the importer and distribution mark ups? Every retailer wants that benefit! However, those deals come only after years of doing business together, and after more than two decades of doing business with Rudy and Montfaucon, we've earned that privilege. 

While the Chateau has been in existence since the 15th century, it wasn't until 1995 that Montfaucon began making true estate wines. That was the year that Rudy de Pins returned home to take over the family operation after graduating from UC Davis, and working a few stints at Henschke and Vieux Telegraphe. Up until that point, Montfaucon had mostly sold its grapes to cooperatives in the region, working as growers rather than producers of an estate label. With Rudy in charge the estate bloomed from 18 hectares to 45 hectares, and Montfaucon would acquire older vineyards while adding new plantings as well. Perhaps the most coveted lie just across the Rhône river from Châteauneuf du Pape, from a plot with vines as old as ninety years in age. It's from those gnarly old roots (like the one pictured above) that Rudy makes the Montfaucon "Baron Louis," a CdP style blend that typically sells for a sub-$20 Côtes du Rhône price (again, thanks to our direct purchasing). Recently, however, we were fortunate enough to be allowed access into Rudy's cellar to select back vintages of the old vine cuvée from 2005 and 2007, two outstanding expressions that have been slowly evolving towards perfection. Not only did we get standard bottles from the Montfaucon treasure trove, we grabbed magnums as well! Have a look here to get all the specifics, but make sure you at least grab a bottle or two. 

These are the opportunities that make doing business in the wine industry so rewarding. These are the moments we live for.

-David Driscoll