The 2006 Domaine Richaud, Cairanne is a lovely wine that is effortlessly taking on bottle age. The nose remained subtle compared to the palate where the clean fruit, fresh acidity, and rustic tannins are enhanced by a hint of glycerine. This makes it not only a tasty wine but one to work in the mouth. I suspect it is a few years out from its peak so you can cellar this further or pop a bottle now, just give it some air. This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.
2006 Domaine Marcel Richaud, Cairanne, Cotes du Rhone Villages – $27
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections. This wine is a blend of 36% Grenache, 38% Mourvèdre, 18% Syrah, and 8% Carignan sourced from vines over 25 years of age. The wine is raised in a mixture of concrete and large barrels. Alcohol 14.5%. The nose continued to reveal red fruit and roast. In the mouth were focused ripe, red fruit, wood notes, with some firmness toward the finish where sweet blue fruit came out. The acidity was fresh and the pleasing tannins, rustic. With air the wine took on a rounder character showing density, a hint of glycerine, and old wood notes. A nice wine that is progressing towards maturity. *** Now – 2020.
Today’s post features four French wines which I recently tasted. Both the 2012 Domaine des Braves, Regnie and the 2011 Domaine Rimbert, Les Travers de Marceau are youthful wines which I highly recommend. They both remind me of clean, fresh fruit. Take a close look at the Rimbert label for the “2011″ vintage year is hand stamped over the old “2010.” When I met Elisabeth Saladin of Domaine Saladin just over one year ago I got to taste the 2007 Domaine Saladin, Fan de Lune. You may read my impressions of that and other wines in my post Tasting the Wines of Elisabeth Saladin at MacArthur Beverages. Since then the wine has developed a pebbly texture and dried herbal flavors. The 2007 Domaine de Alary, La Font d’Estevenas reveals riper fruit and more overall drive. It has developed some maturity and should continue to do so over the next several years but will last longer. I enjoyed all four wines but if I had to pick only two then I would go with the Domaine des Braves and the Domaine Rimbert. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.
2012 Domaine des Braves, Regnie – $16
Imported by Dionysos Imports. This wine is 100% Gamay. The whole-cluster fruit was fermented in cement. Alcohol 13%. The scented nose revealed good aromas of red currant and raspberry. In the mouth there were fresh red berries and a tiny pepper note which mixed with the tart acidity and bit of structure. The wine developed strawberry flavors and learn red fruit with black minerals. There were very fine, grapey tannins. *** Now-2016.
2011 Domaine Rimbert, Les Travers de Marceau, Saint-Chinian – $15
Imported by Dionysos Imports. This wine is a blend of 50% Syrah and 50% Carignan. Alcohol 12.5%. The enjoyable nose revealed macerated raspberries and perfumed aromas. In the mouth there were tart red flavors that were round. The mouth then followed the nose with a very fine berry purple texture and grapey personality. A nice wine! *** Now-2016.
2007 Domaine Saladin, Fan de Lune, Cotes du Rhone Villages – $20
Imported by Williams Corner Wine. This wine is mostly Mourvedre with some Grenache and Syrah sourced from 40-year-old vines. The vineyards are high in minerals with galets roules. Vinification depends upon the varietal with aging for nine months in foudres. Alcohol 11-14%. In the mouth there was almost pebbly fruit which mixed with dried herbs. The dry flavors mixed with the tannins. It showed some weight with air along with flavors of dried herbs, a hint of citrus, and ripeish-wood box tannins. ** Now-2017.
2007 Domaine Alary, La Font d’Estevenas, Cotes du Rhone Villages Cairanne – $25
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler. This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah sourced from a vineyard planted in 1961. Alcohol 14.5%. The nose was robust with mulberry and black grapey aromas. The wine starts with ripe flavors of red and blue fruit, a hint of maturity, and a little tang. There was some weight and drive to the fruit. With air the flavors become drier with the mature notes developing in the middle. The flavors expand in the mouth but the wine maintains a sense of lightness in the finish. *** Now-2020.
Many of the wines I came across at the Eric Solomon Portfolio Tasting have appeared on this blog in an earlier vintage. I do try to contact wineries and winemakers so I was thrilled to know that two were present at this event. In this case the influential Philippe Cambie and Frederic Chaudiere of Chateau Pesquie. The Philippe Cambie table had a slew of enjoyable wines which were new to me. I continue to enjoy the wines of Chateau Pesquie including my first experience with the 2011 Artemia. The 2011 Roger Sabon, Les Olivets is another example of why I like Chateauneuf du Pape.
About halfway through the tasting the crowds and noise level noticeably increased. I made may way to the smaller front room to taste the wines of Robert Sabon along with some Spanish wines. There was a good vibe in the air which was evident at these two tables.
Afterwards I returned to the larger back room to taste the wines of Philippe Cambie, Chateau Pesquie, and Chateau Puech-Haut. Below you will find my remaining tasting notes.
Table 34 – Roger Sabon
I manged to stand to the side and taste through most of the Sabon wines. I must admit, as good as the Prestige and Le Secrete des Sabon were, I was very attracted to the Les Olivets. It was an old-school, honest glass of Chateauneuf du Pape which I really wanted to drink.
2012 Renaissance Blanc, Chateauneuf du Pape – $52
This wine is a blend of 40% Roussanne, 20% Clairette, 20% Bourboulenc, and 20% Grenache Blanc aged in tronconical vats. There was a light, tight nose of yeasty white fruit. In the mouth the flavors were tangy on the sides of the tongue then the fruit came out with mixed flavors, some weight, and a lees character in the finish.
2011 Rhone by Roger Sabon, Cotes du Rhone – $16
This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, and 10% Cinsault which was aged in tank. There was a lifted nose of red fruit. In the mouth the fresh red fruit was round with tang, acidity, tannins, and structure.
2011 Les Olivets, Chateauneuf du Pape – $48
This wine is a blend 70% Grenache, 15% Syrah, and 15% Cinsault which was aged 18 months in foudre and tank. The light, unique nose was foxy, earthy, and stepped out of the glass. The mouth followed the nose with rustic fruit which was light before making way to black and blue fruit. Old-school and neat. Quite approachable.
2011 Prestige, Chateauneuf du Pape – $80
This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Counoise and Vaccarese, and 5% Mourvedre which was aged 18 moths in demi-muids and tronconical oak. There was a very tight, controlled nose with the Grenache and Mourvedre coming through. In the mouth there were focused, ripe red and blue fruit with an old-school note. Needs some age.
2011 Le Secret des Sabon, Chateuneuf du Pape – $230
This wine is mostly Grenache aged in 600L dmei-muids. The light but familial nose was good all around. There were denser flavors in the mouth, a lot going on, with drier fruit filling the mouth. Spicy tannins were evidence as the structure came out. For the cellar.
Table 35 – Eric Solomon Selections Spanish Wines
Wow, expensive modern Spanish wines. This table had a crowd so it was a bit difficult to jockey for a pour and the spit bucket, my notes were thinner as a result. Still the Bodegas Aalto wines made for a seductive pair. The Benjamin Romeo, Contador was stunner and absolutely refused to die off.
2011 Benjamin Romeo, Que Bonito Cacareaba Blanco – $80
This wine is a blend of 73% Garnacha Blaca, 15% Malvasia, and 12% Viura aged eight months in 100% new French oak. There were interesting flavors in the mouth which were low-lying, expansive then fresher with ripe, citrus tannins.
2010 Benjamin Romeo, La Cueva del Contador, Rioja Alavesa – $100
This wine is 100% Tempranillo which was aged 18 months in 100% new French oak. There was a good nose of lovely, floral red fruit. In the mouth the flavors were concentrated but had a lightness to them. Definitely young with nice acidity and firm tannins which were fine, grapey, and drying.
2010 Benjamin Romeo, La Vina de Andres, Rioja Alavesa – $160
This wine is 100% Tempranillo which was aged 18 months in 100% new French oak. There was a caramel popcorn nose which mixed with red fruit aromas. In the mouth it was a touch slaty with red fruit, fine-grained, spicy tannins, and an inky aspect in the finish. This young wine is nice and will certainly age.
2010 Benjamin Romeo, Contador, Rioja Alavesa – $375
This wine is a blend of 86% Tempranillo and 14% Garnacha which was aged 18 months in 100% new French oak. The nose was a touch pungent and quite assured. In the mouth there was a salty, good start with power to the flavors but a light nature. The spicy tannins came out before the black and red fruit in the finish. The flavors clung to the sides of the mouth providing a long aftertaste. Needs some age and will be long-lived.
2010 Bodega Aalto, Ribero del Duero – $56
This wine is 100% Tinto Fino which was aged 23 months in used French and American oak barrels. A beautiful wine with concentrated flavors, pencil lead, and powdery red fruit and citrus.
2010 Bodegas Aalto, PS, Ribera del Duero -
Produced only in the finest vintages, this wine is 100% Tinto Fino aged 30 months in 100% new French oak. This dense wine was serious, seductive, and clearly well-done.
Table #22 – Chateau Puech-Haut
It has been some years since I last drank a bottle of Chateau Puech Haut. The rose are an interesting pair with Jean describing the Prestige as a barbecue wine and the Tete de Belier as gastronomique. The first four red wines I tasted all showed beautiful fruit and individual personalities. The Prestige rouge is a joint project with Philippe Cambie and Eric Solomon. It is well done, packing in a lot of flavor for the price.
2012 Prestige Rose, Coteaux du Languedoc – Saint Drezery – $22
This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Cinsault which was aged in stainless steel. This showed good textured fruit on the nose. The mouth follows the nose with lots of flavors, a long finish, and ripeness in the aftertaste. A nice wine.
2012 Tete de Belier Rose, Coteaux du Languedoc – Saint Drezery – $40
This wine is a blend of Mourvedre and Grenache which was aged in stainless steel. This was very aromatic with pastilles and grapefruit aromas making for a beautiful nose. The mouth follows the nose with tighter flavors, up front acidity, acidity in the finish, and some tannins.
2011 Recantou, Coteaux du Languedoc – Saint Drezery – $80
This wine is a blend of Syrah and Grenache with 70% aged 16 months in new oak and 30% aged 12 months in used oak. There was a tight nose of nice fruit. This was great in the mouth with subtle weight, black perfumed fruit, and expansive flavors. There was very good flavor to the fruit which works well with the structure.
2011 Quercus, Coteaux du Languedoc – Saint Drezery – $80
This wine is a blend of Grenache and Syrah aged 16 months in tank. The tight nose had a hint of ripe, fine berries. In the mouth the flavors were more lifted with mixed juicy fruits in more obvious structure. There were finely ripe, drying and powerful tannins. There was a black, minerally finish along with cinnamon spices, and a spicy note. Young.
2011 Bosque Negre, Coteaux du Languedoc – Saint Drezery – $80
This wine is a blend of Mourvedre and Grenache with the Mourvedre aged 16 months in new French oak and the Grenache in tank. There was a good smelling nose. The mouth follows the nose with a sense of lightness despite the good, powerful fruit and powerful structure. There were black and blue fruits in the finish.
2011 Reboussier, Coteaux du Languedoc – Saint Drezery – $80
This wine is a blend of 80% Carignan and 20% Grenache aged 14 months in new oak barrels. With a familial nose the mouth showed a density to the flavors. There was focused ripeness to the fruit with good structure and nice tannins. This will age well but is already long on flavor.
2011 Prestige Rouge, Coteaux du Languedoc – Saint Drezery – $22
This wine is a blend of 55% Grenache and 45% Syrah which was aged in concrete. There was brighter blue fruit which packs lots of flavor. There were very, very fine tannins which were well-integrated into the wine. The flavors turned black towards the finish. The aftertaste was sinewy with a spicy note.
Table #13 – Chateau Pesquie
The fruit for the La Paradou wines are sourced from the Northern Languedoc. While I preferred the Blanc over the Rouge, I liked all when it came to the Terrasses and Quintessence. The Terrasses as whole represent good wine for the price which may be drunk for several years. The 2011 Quintessence Rouge is a lovely follow on to the 2010. Of the Artemia I must agree with Frederic in that the 2011 is great fun to drink.
2012 La Paradou Blanc, Vin de France – $11
This wine is 100% Viognier sourced from chalky limestone soils which was fermented and aged for five months in tank. There was a light, good nose of floral honeysuckle and berries. The flavors followed the nose but were dry at first before taking on a gentle, floral ripeness. There was an expansive midpalate followed by a hint of spices in the aftertaste. Good value.
2012 Terrasses Blanc, Cotes du Ventoux – $15
This wine is a blend of 70% Viognier, 15% Roussanne, and 15% Clairette aged in stainless steel and some concrete. The nose has aromas of lifted berries, pastilles, then tropical flowers. The flavors were riper with a softer entry then clean, lower-lying flavors.
2012 Quintessence Blanc, Cotes du Ventoux – $25
This wine is a blend of 80% Roussanne, 10% Clairette, and 10% Viognier with the Clairette and Viognier aged in stainless steel and the Roussanne aged six months in barrel. The showed more focus and determination, with white nuts, and tighter flavors. Needs some age.
2012 Terrasses Rose, Cotes du Ventoux – $14
This wine is a blend of 50% Cinsault, 40% Grenache, and 10% Syrah aged in stainless steel tank. There was a focused nose of floral fruit, red fruit, and flowers. There was a weighty, focused, lovely feel in the mouth with a yeasty touch as the end.
2011 La Paradou Rouge, Vin de France – $11
This wine is 100% Grenache. This had a pungent Grenache nose followed by simpler but decent fruit in the mouth. It was a little rough in the finish.
2012 Terrasses Rouge, Cotes du Ventoux – $16 (Tank Sample)
This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache and 20% Syrah aged six to eight months in 40% new oak. The flavors of red fruit were a touch foxy(good) and filled the mouth with licorice. It has an aspect of lightness combined with a gentle structure. There was a little yeasty expansion in the finish along with lighter, fresher fruit.
2011 Quintessence Rouge, Cotes du Ventoux – $25
This wine is a blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache aged for 12 months in 50% new oak. The tight was bore fine fruit. The mouth was more expansive with red fruit, good flavor, then black and red fruit with a powerful structure. Then there was perfumed, old-school, red fruit, and a chewy finish. Nice.
2009 Cuvee Artemia, Cotes du Ventoux – $42
This wine is a blend of 50% Syrah and 50% Grenache aged 18 months in 50% new and 50% neutral oak. The nose stood out with its concentration and different aromas. In the mouth there was depth to the flavors, a traditional style, and perfume. The structure came out but so id really good flavors. Seems young.
2011 Cuvee Artemia, Cotes du Ventoux – $43
This wine is a blend of 50% Syrah and 50% Grenache aged 18 months in 50% new and 50% neutral oak. There was a light, pungent nose. In the mouth the fruit, acidity, and tannins were immediately evident as balanced. The tannins are finer but the fruit has density to match. There was a powerful finish with a yeast red aftertaste. A nice wine that is young but would be good fun to drink now.
Table #21 – Philippe Cambie
Philippe Cambie’s hand is evident not just in the Rhone and Eric Solomon’s portfolio but all over the world. He has loved wine since at least his rugby days when he enjoyed it after his matches. Mas des Volques is a project of Nicolas Souchon of Clos St Jean. Both the Alba Dolia and Volcae were interesting and well priced. The Alba Dolia represent the first vintage for the new Cevennes appellation. I should like to taste them again. The 2011 Domaine Roche, Cairanne showed good complexity for a young wine. Philippe intends the Calendel to be Burgundian in style and easy to drink, indeed it was.
2012 Mas des Volques, Alba Dolia White, Duche d’Uzes – Cevennes – $20
This wine is a blend of 65% Viognier and 35% Roussane aged in six months in used oak barrels from Burgundy. From a freshly opened bottle the nose preceeds the mouth with good yellow fruit and almonds. Nice. There was verve in the midpalate with mouth filling and tongue coating flavors. Spices and tang came out on the middle of the tongue.
2011 Mas des Volques, Volcae, Duche d’Uzes – $22
This wine is a blend of 35% Grenache, 35% Syrah, and 30% Carignan with the Grenache aged in tank and the Syrah and Carignan aged in barrel. The nose stepped out of the glass. There was round fruit in the mouth, garrigue, density, chewy tannins, and good flavor. This will age well. It left impressions of weight and interest.
2011 Domaine Roche, Cotes du Rhone – $16
This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache, 25% Syrah, and 15% Carignan sourced from young vines (40 years) aged for six months in 60% stainless and 40% concrete tanks. The nose showed focus with traditional red fruit. In the mouth the powdery red fruit felt good. The acidity is there despite first being aware of the mouthfeel. This had some powdery lift and structure in the finish.
2011 Domaine Roche, Cairanne – $19
This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah from old vines (60 years) aged in 80% concrete tanks and 20% in barrique. There was a less pungent nose. The mouth had more complex flavors which stood on top of the tongue. This was young but serious with a touch of yeast. The dense flavors need time to unfurl.
2011 Calendal, Cotes du Rhone, Plan de Dieu – $30
This wine is a blend of 80% Mourvedre and 20% Grenache sourced from 30-50 year old vines is aged for 12 months in used barrels. There was focused ripe fruit, density, and already seductive in its youth. Lots of flavor, good to drink.
Table #21 – Domaine de la Colliere and Chateau Juvenal
Philippe Cambie is also the consulting oenologist for these two estates. The Domaine de la Colliere, La Fontaine was good fun and a wine to try again. Chateau Juvenal is a new organic estate with 2011 the first vintage. The La Terre du Petit Homme shows they are off to a good start.
2011 Domaine de la Colliere, Les Touilleres, Rasteau – $18
This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 5% Carignan, and 5% Mourvedre aged in cuve Breton. There was a pungent, Grenache nose. There were similar powdery, coating flavors in the mouth, red fruit. Rasteau firmness with Cambie twist.
2011 Domaine de la Colliere, La Fontaine, Cotes du Rhone Villages Rasteau – $29
This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvedre aged in concrete tank for two winters. There flavors had verve and were lively on the tongue with drying flavors. With a hint of the yeast this lightened up in the finish. There was a powerful end with salty and savory flavors.
2011 Chateau Juvenal, Les Ribes du Vallat, Ventoux – $14
This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 25% Carignan, and 25% Syrah sourced from 30-50 year old vines aged nine months on the lees in stainless steel tanks. The nose is more perfumed. In the mouth there was good red fruit, a powdery nature, similar profile, spicy finish, and lots of mouthfeel. There were firm tannins in the powerful aftertaste.
2011 Chateau Juvenal, La Terre du Petit Homme, Ventoux -
This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache and 50% Syrah sourced from 50 year old vines with the Grenache aged on the lees in stainless steel tank and the Syrah aged in new French oak for 12 months. There was a pungent nose. In the mouth there was salty and savory black red fruit which became lifted. I loved the savory aspect of the wine. There were fine tannins to the structure which developed with air. There was black and red fruit in the finish along with salivating acidity.
Table #11 – Tikves Winery
The wines of Tikves have appeared in several of my posts ever since I first tasted them at the Embassy of the Republic of Macedonia this past summer. At this point the tasting was coming to an end with wines being boxed up and my palate clearly tired. I decided to quickly taste through the wines to bring awareness to those who have yet tried a wine from the Republic of Macedonia. Philippe Cambie is the consulting oenologist.
2011 Vranec Special Selection, Tikves – $10
This wine is 100% Vranec aged in tank. The fruit is pure with red tang and stands out on the nose. There is good grip in the mouth with tang to the red and black fruit which is noticeable on the tip of the tongue.
2010 Barovo, Tikves – $20
This wine is a blend of 85% Kratosija and 15% Vranec aged 6-8 months in oak barrels. There was light red fruit on the nose along with Kirsch coming through. In the mouth the flavors were pure, showed weight, tartness, and acidity. This was well done with a lighter finish and assured structure.
2011 Barovo, Tikves – $20
This wine is a blend of 85% Kratosija and 15% Vranec aged 6-8 months in oak barrels. This bore dark red flavors. Again the wine was assured with a little salty bit, tight flavors, and in need of some age.
2011 Bela Voda, Tikves – $20
This wine is a blend of 70% Plavec and 30% Vranec aged 6-8 months in oak barrels. This was more fruit driven than the 2011 with more lushness in the mouth. There were light, red fruit and pencil lead notes.
I may not have purchased any Chateauneuf du Pape for less than $30 but there are plenty of selections from the Cotes du Rhone Villages. The 2010 vintage has produced excellent and age-worthy wines. This is reflected in the Domaine de la Janasse, Terre d’Argile and the Oratoire St Martin, Reserve des Seigneurs. The Janasse starts off with a lovely nose followed by a mouth of tight, focused, pure fruit. It is in a primary state right now but is still pleasing and will certainly develop over the years. The Oratoire St Martin is quite pleasing in its youth and already shows enticing complexity. The wine is firm so it is best left in the cellar. It should mature a tad bit faster than the Janasse and I suspect it may achieve greater heights. The Mas del Perie from Cahors was a pleasant surprise for not all wines from 2007 are ripe and forward. The nose is attractive followed by good fruit but there are still firm, drying tannins. I would be tempted to cellar it a bit to see what happens, if not then try it with some meat. These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.
2010 Domaine de la Janasse, Terre d’Argile, Cotes du Rhone Villages – $25
Imported by Eric Solomon. This wine is a blend of 25% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 25% Mourvedre, and 25% Carignan sourced from 40-60 year old vines at the La Garrigues vineyard. It was aged for one year in foudre. Alcohol 15%. The color was a medium grapey ruby. The nose smelled good with a little saline whiff of the sea followed by red fruit and red candy. In the mouth there was tight, focused black fruit along with very fine, drying tannins. The finish was a little spicy on the tongue with a good core of fruit. This will be slow to age so be patient for what will come. ***(*) 2016-2025.
2010 Oratoire St Martin, Reserve des Seigneurs, Cairanne – $22
Imported by Dionysos Imports. This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, and 10% Syrah sourced from 65-year-old vines. It was fermented for 18 days then aged for 24 months in oak barrels. Alcohol 14.5%. The color was a medium purple ruby. The light nose had concentrated aromas of grapey fruit. In the mouth there were focused and ripe black fruit flavors and graphite which expanded in the mouth. The minerals mixed well with the drying tannins which coated the mouth and teeth from the middle. This wine remained firm and focused with a nice weighty feel, cedar flavors in the finish, and some spicy tannins in the aftertaste. This needs several hours to open but is best left in the cellar. ***(*) 2015-2025.
2007 Mas del Perie, La Roque, Malbec, Cahors – $22
Imported by Wine Traditions. This wine is 100% Malbec sourced from 30-year-old vines farmed organically. It was aged on the lees for 10 months in 50% used oak barrels and 50% cement tanks. Alcohol 13.5%. The light nose was scented with fruit and spice, a little powdery chewing gum, and some vanilla. In the mouth there was a little more structure than expected but the fruit kept a light personality. The flavors were of red and blue fruit with well-integrated acidity. The flavors took on focus towards the finish along with a tobacco note and firm, drying tannins in the aftertaste. **(*) 2015-2019.
Eight of us recently attended a Rhone Wine dinner hosted by Jan and Rick. While they continue to host a variety of barbecues and holiday parties, they have started organizing a series of wine-themed dinner parties. As an example we attended their Spanish dinner party in September 2011. Each couple brings a dish along with two wines (or a magnum). Jan decorates the bar and dinning room with related pictures from their travels and the table is set with linens, dishes, place cards (mine bore a wine bottle), and flowers to match. I thought this dinner was particularly fun. All of the food was tasty from the Gruyere puff balls and mini Croque-monsieur, to the seafood bisque Provencal, and chocolate cake. The wines were a big hit with a good balance between the 2010 vintage and 2004-2000 vintages. A few other wines were opened but I did not get around to tasting them. The evening was casually paced with enough time to enjoy the food and both savor and discuss the wines. We left rather late, though way past our typical bedtime we were excited and satisfied.
2000 Domaine du Trapadis, Cotes du Rhone Villages Rasteau
This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre, and 10% Carignan. Decanted for two hours this revealed a light to medium intensity nose of red fruit, spice box, and cedar. In the mouth the brighter red fruit had raspberry flavors, a medium mouthfeel and young core. There were finely textured tannins as it tightened up towards the finish. There were mature flavors and drying tannins in the aftertaste. *** Now-2015.
2010 Domaine Brusset, Les Travers Blanc, Cotes du Rhone Villages, Cairanne
This wine is a blend of 30% Clairette, 30% Grenache Blanc, 20% Roussanne, 10% Marsanne, and 10% Viognier which was fermented in vats and new barrels. No malolactic fermentation. The nose was delicately textured with aromas of floral white fruit. In the mouth the flavors were of light, yellow fruit with a marked juiciness, and some lifted flavors in the aftertaste. The profile was lighter but with good flavor. ** Now.
2010 Domaine Rouge Bleu, Cuvee Mistral, Cotes du Rhone
This wine is a blend of 75% Grenache and 25% Carignan which were fermented in concrete tanks. This was double-decanted twice, two hours prior to tasting. I took just a quick note. There were focused red fruit flavors, some cinnamon, minerals, an inky/lipstick note in the aftertaste, all supported by plenty of acidity. There is good potential here, it just needs several years of age. **(**) 2015-2022.
2010 Chateau de Saint Cosme, Blanc, Cotes du Rhone
This wine is a blend of 30% Picpoul, 30% Roussanne, 20% Marsanne, and 20% Viognier which was fermented in old barrels and aged on the lees. The nose revealed lovely, textured ripe white fruit. In the mouth there were good, ripe flavors, sweet spiced fruit, which started off as lively on the tongue than expands and fills the mouth. There were notes of Meyer lemon in the finish as sweet spices came out in the aftertaste. Lovely to drink right now. *** Now-2014.
2001 Chateau de Saint Cosme, Gigondas
This wine is a blend of 75% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 5% Cinsault which was aged in 60% used wood barrels and 40% tanks. The nose revealed earthy, rustic red fruit, cedar, forest floor, and some floral notes. In the mouth the flavors bore a touch of lavender as they turned towards blue fruit. The flavors became leaner as sweet spice came out in the aftertaste. *** Now-2017.
2003 Domaine Santa Duc, Gigondas
This wine is a blend of 75% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre, and 5% Cinsault. The aromatic nose revealed ripe, blue and red fruit, spicy notes, and tobacco aromas. In the mouth the ripe fruit had good depth, was inky with ripe tannins, and an expansive aftertaste with flavors of licorice. This contemporary Gigondas is still youthful and should develop and last for many more years. ***(*) Now-2022.
2004 Domaine Chante Cigale, Chateauneuf du Pape, en magnum
Imported by Saranty Imports. This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre, and 10% Cinsault. Double-decanted an hour before I tasted it. The nose revealed smoked tobacco and dark blue fruit. In the mouth the flavors shed baby fat with air with the blue and dark blue fruit tightening up. This easy-going wine remained tight with integrated acidity, very subtle sweet spice, a touch of warmth, and an overall primary nature. Magnums of this will easily cellar for years to come! **(*) 2017-2025.
I recommend all but the 2001 Cristia. While I prefer the Alary and the Clos des Fess, the Mourgues des Gres is a good value. I’d consider it a notch down in preference because I was not particularly fond of the winey, fruit-driven syrah flavor it had. I’m not sure how to describe it.
2001 Domaine de Cristia, Cotes du Rhone Villages – $12
Although the domaine was founded in 1942, it wasn’t until 1999 that the wines were bottled at the domaine. This is an 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah blend. A light, brick color in the glass. A light nose of mature red/blue fruits. A simple, light to medium-bodied with that tastes fully mature now. I’d drink this now, I don’t see it gaining anything.
2005 Domaine Alary, La Font d’Estevens, Cotes du Rhone Villages Cairanne – $22
In 1983 Domaine de L’Oratoire St-Martin split with 19 ha controlled by Daniel and Denis Alary. Alary’s top red wine, La Font d’Estevens is named after the vineyard site in Cairanne. It is a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache & Counoise. The Syrah vines came from Hermitage and were planted 40 years ago. Some of the Grenache vines are over 100 years old. This wine is purple/ruby with medium opacity in the glass. There is a good nose of peppery syrah. In the mouth blue fruits mix with pepper. The flavors slowly expand to become mouthfilling, with a fine but thorough amount of tannins and a good aftertaste. This is a fine wine that I would wait a few years before drinking.
2004 Chateau Mourgues du Gres, Terre d’Argence, Costieres de Nimes – $15
Chateau Mourges du Gres is located right at the southern edge of the Rhone. The estate originally belonged to the Convent of Ursulines of Beaucaire. In 1993 Francois Collard bottled his first red wine at the estate. The Terre d’Argences comes from an area where there are more chalk-clay marls on small hills. This wine is predominantly Syrah with old-vine Grenache. The Syrah vines are over 40 years old. It is aged 9-12 months in concrete tanks. This wine is a very opaque purple/garnet. A light, distinct syrah nose that is repeated on the palate. Dark fruits integrated with immediate acidity and assertive, fine tannins. This young wine has medium-bodied syrah flavors and is mouthfilling. It is already throwing a lot of sediment. I’d give it at least a year to develop more aromatics.
2003 Cloes des Fees, Vieilles Vignes, Cotes du Roussillion Villages – $20
Herve Bizeul produced his first wine in 1998. This wine is 30% Carignan, 30% Syrah, 15% Grenache, 15% Lladuner Pelut, and 10% Mourvedre. (According to The Oxford Companion to Wine, Lladuner Pelut is also known as Grenache Poilu or Velu. It resembles Grenache except the underside of the leaves are downier and it is less suspectible to rot.) The vines are between 50 – 100 years old and grow on limestone/clay hills that require hand harvesting. It is fermented in barrels and aged 18 months in French oak. It is purple/ruby with medium opacity in the glass. Blue fruit and spice on the nose. In the mouth there are blue/dark fruits, minerals, and grippy tannins from all of the wood. It is a medium-bodied wine, with good mouth feel. It is still a bit young. I’d buy a few of these to hold for a few years. Recently noted in The Hedonists Gazette and back in 2005 by The Lord Rodney.