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Three Affordable French Red Wines


I plan to use this week to catch up on various tasting notes from August.  It is not that I tasted more wine over the summer, rather I spent more time relaxing rather than typing up tasting notes on my computer.  I picked up these three French wines during my recent trip to Unwined on King Street. With all of these priced the same I would recommend purchasing the Domaine Lafage followed by the Clos du Mont-Olivet. The Domaine Lafage shows the warmth of the Roussillon with its generous forward nature. The Clos du Mont-Olivet, Font de Blanche is a base-level blend that seems to be in an awkward stage right now. It certainly needs another year in the cellar and could possibly improve in that period. The Domaine de Saint Siffrein is without flaw but then does not inspire much thought upon drinking. These wines are available at Unwined.

2009 Domaine Lafage, Cuvee Nicolas, Vieilles Vignes, Cotes Catalanes – $15
Imported by Eric Solomon/European Cellars. This wine is 100% Grenache which was fermented in open-top containers followed by aging on the lees in barrel. The light to medium strength nose reveals blueberries and red grapefruit. In the mouth the fruit is bluer with a racy vein, smooth mouthfeel, and chalky, dusty tannins. The flavors become lifted and perfumed in the finish. The aftertaste leaves perfumed flavors with some lipstick, red grapefruit, and a powdery sweetness. This is a solid, forward drinking effort. *** Now-2017.

2009 Clos du Mont-Olivet, Font de Blanche, Cotes du Rhone – $15
Imported by Dionysos Imports. This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache, 38% Syrah, and 2% Cinsault. It was aged in cement tank. Alcohol 14%. Philip Cambie is an advisor to the estate. Tasted over two nights the nose remains light. In the mouth there are notes of pepper, graphite, and stone-framed blue fruit which is lifted and expansive. The flavors turn towards red fruit with focused notes of pepper, all in a structured delivery. There are lots of fine+ drying tannins. This was much better on the second night but still seems tight. **(*) 2013-2016.

2010 Domaine de Saint Siffrein, Cotes du Rhone Villages – $15
Imported by J.A.O Wine Imports. This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah. The fruit is destemmed then fermented and aged in vat. Alcohol 14.5%. There is a light, contemporary nose. This solid-drinking Rhone starts with slightly tart flavors. It gains a little weight and creamy mouthfeel as fresh, red fruit comes out. The flavors are delivered with a grapey concentration. There are sweeter tannins in the finish. While this tastes very young right now it should be drunk over the short-term. ** 2015-2018.

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