Two Wines For Valentines

Wines of the Week…

WINE 1 – 2007 Chêne Bleu Abélard

WINE 2 – 2007 Chêne Bleu Héloïse

(It’s a pair this week!)

Maker: Chêne Bleu

Year: 2007

Region: Vaucluse, France

Chêne Bleu is the Super Rhone producer who is super detail-oriented in every aspect of their production: from the biodynamic approach to farming the incredibly unique terroir, to the handcrafted wine making in the gravity-fed winery, to the philosophy of pursuing interactive, uncompromising quality… even to the award-winning label – this is a producer who combines forward-thinking qualitative wine-making with a classic respect for terroir (and whose wines will likely become rather pricey cult wines in the near future).

A quick background to why the Wine of the Week is, in fact, two wines.  They are  a pair of wines, which were made in that spirit – they are the yin and yang of one another and named for the famous lovers and soulmates, Abélard and Héloïse, whose story was tragic but their commitment to one another unwavering.

The Abélard is the Grenache dominant-blend (90% Grenache, 10% Syrah), and it is big and brooding.  It needs some time in a decanter, but opens to be velevety and rich, with layered, juicy blackberries and morello cherries.  And there are glints of black liquorice, Provençial brush, thyme, rosemary, with baking spices (think cinnamon, sweet anise and cool cardamom).  This is an elegant, masculine wine with a lot of length.

The Héloïse is the Syrah-dominant blend (60% Syrah, 37% Grenache, 3% Viognier) that has restrained concentration and complexity.  It has generous rich, red and black berry fruit, supple tannins, and discreet black pepper spice.  This wine strikes a fantastic balance between the floral aromatics, lush juiciness, and the nuances of cedar smoke and savouriness (not to mention a slight undertone of meatiness).  This is a wine of finesse: soft, rich, with great structure and a persistent, silky finish.

Valentine’s Day is a’comin’ – now is a perfect time to try both wines out!  After all, they’re meant to be together.


As a career sommelier, Kimberley Drake has overseen some of the finest wine programs and operations in America and Asia. Her accomplishments range from working as a sommelier at Jean Georges in NYC to opening Hong Kong’s Café Gray Deluxe as their chef sommelier. She can be reached at


Photo Courtesy of wizdata1/