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Four From France

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.



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  1. August 10, 2011 at 12:10 pm

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