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Détente-Old World Meets New in the Bottle

Born from an introduction that was arranged by Tom, Détente is old world meets new in the bottle. In 2008, Joey Tensley of Tensley Wines met Cécile Dusserre of Domaine de Montvac to create  Détente, or “relaxation”, our original Trans-Atlantic blend of 50% Tensley Wines Colson Canyon Syrah and 50% Domaine de Montvac Vacqueyras Variation, Cécile’s top release.

“I’m a fan of a lot of things from the Rhone,” says Joey.  “The people, terroir, Syrah, Grenache.  The Rhone and our area [Santa Barbara county] have a similar feel, [from] the people [to] the look of the soils, mountains, and temperatures.”  And so, it is only natural that his award winning Syrah should be blended with Cécile’s Vacqueyras Variation.

Founded in 1860, Domaine de Montvac has been passed from mother to daughter for the past three generations.  With the support of husbands, who fully embraced all aspects of life in the winery and vineyard, this family run winery holds a total of 22ha of vineyards–3ha in Gigondas, 2ha in Cotes du Rhone, and 17ha in Vacqueyras.

Cécile Dusserre of Domaine de Montvac

In Vacqueyras, the yields are low to provide maximum concentration.  Subject to the Mistral winds, which cool the Rhone Valley by a few degrees for a third of the year, Cécile’s small plot of vines is lined with pine trees that help protect vines from Mistral gusts.  And while these cooler temps help keep the vines free of humidity, and thereby free of disease, they also helps concentrate the grapes.  Embellishing the nature of the local climate, Cécile harvests when the grapes are slightly overripe.

Practicing sustainable agriculture, Domaine de Montvac does not use herbicides or pesticides.  “The notion of the terroir translates,” says Cécile.  “The vineyard has roots which can go back to 50 or 60 inches below to get all the potential of the soil.”  Trained in classical dance, Cécile remains focused on motion.  In 1992, she began training with her father, an oenologist.  And with three daughters of her own, the matrilineal tradition will most certainly live on.

In the winery, there is no crushing and some destemming, and the native yeasts are kept.  The tanks are gravity fed to minimize agitation, and Cécile employs “light-touch interventions that realize all of the grapes’ potential qualities.”  After fermentation, the wines are kept underground, some in concrete vats and others in barriques.

What’s the result when Domaine de Montvac Vacqueyras Variation (100% Grenache from old vines) is blended with Colson Canyon?  Détente, a deep ruby wine of plump plums and dark berry fruit.  Silky, with bramble wood tannins that uphold the roof, Détente is a solid wine with black pepper notes that tickle the tongue, warm the mouth, and linger…an ideal wine for the upcoming fall nights.

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