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Wine of the Week: 2009 Les Halos de Jupiter Vacqueyras

By S. Irene Virbila

Los Angeles Times

August 18, 2011

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For Les Halos de Jupiter's Philippe Cambie, "Grenache is the king of all grapes and the natural leader of all Rhone varietals." The southern Rhone rising-star enologist makes wines for a number of famed estates, but Les Halos de Jupiter is his own project.

His Vacqueyras is a blend of 83% Grenache old vines and 17% Syrah from 35-year-old vines. With its intensely inky color, lush body and notes of wild herbs, deep dark fruit and spice, the 2009 shows why Vacqueyras can be such a beguiling wine — a close relative of Chateauneuf and Gigondas, which he also makes.

Cambie doesn't make much of the Vacqueyras, but right now some of it can be found at local wine shops. I'd grab a bottle and take it to any picnic or barbecue. Lay in some charcuterie or salumi, a few cheeses, and it's an impromptu feast. Have it with burgers, with grilled ribs or a chicken fricassee with sweet peppers and tomatoes.

Region: Southern Rhone

Price: About $25

Style: Lush and full-bodied

What it goes with: Charcuterie, cheese, barbecue, burgers, chicken fricassee

Where to find it: Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, (949) 650-8463, http://www.hitimewine.net; Liquid Wine & Spirits in Chatsworth, (818) 709-5019; http://www.liquidpartyworks.com; Mission Wines in South Pasadena, (626) 403-9463, http://www.missionwines.com; and Wine Exchange in Orange, (714) 974-1454 and (800) 76WINEX, http://www.winex.com.