Posts Tagged ‘Cotes du Roussillon Villages’

Even more recent drinks

January 11, 2018 Leave a comment

I cannot seem to shake a consistently busy work schedule which eliminates any free time I have.  Hence my sporadic posting.  Of the lot of wines featured in today’s post the 2007 Domaine de la Mordoree, La Reine des Bois, Lirac is my favorite.  I was a bit underwhelmed until several hours in when it completely transformed for the better.  Of the wines which are currently available the 2012 J. M. Rimbert, Carignator is a good value.  It is Carignan so it is a bit firm in a way but the flavors have taken on good bottle age.  The 2016  Viticultores Emilio Ramirez y Envinate, Benje, Ycoden-Daute-Isora, Tenerife does not offer up the excitement I experienced with the 2015 vintage.  The profile is still there but this vintage is not as expressive.  I will try another bottle in case there is bottle shock.  Finally, I was underwhelmed by the 2016 Domaine A. Clape, Le Vin des Amis.  A strange evergreen incense marked the wine for days.  Coupled with bitter black fruit it did not become enjoyable until several days in.  I will broach my second bottle several years down the road.

2006 Domaine du Clos des Fees, Vieilles Vignes, Cotes du Roussillon Villages
Imported by Simon n’ Cellars.  This is a gravelly wine with maturing blue fruit, watering acidity then flavors of garrigue and strawberry liquor candied near the finish.  it develops a spiced berry cote becoming drier towards the end where the strength of the wine shows.  It wraps up dry.  *** Now – 2023.

2007 Domaine de la Mordoree, La Reine des Bois, Lirac
Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils. This wine is a blend of 34% Grenache, 33% Syrah, and 33% Mourvedre. Alcohol 14.5%.  There is a maturing core of fruit but there is still plenty of spicy structure surrounding it.  The wine is thick with black fruit and a bit of bitterness towards the end.  After 2-3 hours in the decanter it rounds out and the components come into balance quite well.  There are racy blue flavors, watering acidity, wood box, baking spices, and a luxurious marshmallow body.  **** Now – 2028.

2012 J. M. Rimbert, Carignator – $15
Imported by Dionysos Imports.  This is 100% Carignan largely sourced from 70+ year old vines.  It was aged for six months in old neutral barrels.  Alcohol 13%.  A medium opaque, bricking cherry color.  This is a dry, textured wine that is maturing in the bottle.  There are wood notes, a little balsam, and textured tannins left on the gums.  **(*) Now – 2023.

2015 Tenuta Delle Terre Nere, Etna Rosso – $17
Imported by deGrazia Imports. Alcohol 13.5%.  There are lifted aromas of tar.  In the mouth are somewhat black and red fruit, mineral on the sides of the tongue, and minimal fine tannins which give it some grip.  The wine tasted polished, focused, and modern.  With it it becomes more mineral, which is attractive, and takes on a touch of cocoa.  Solid but not moving.  **(*) 2018-2020.

2016  Viticultores Emilio Ramirez y Envinate, Benje, Ycoden-Daute-Isora, Tenerife – $22
A Jose Pastor Selections imported by Llaurador Wines.  This is a blend of high-altitude 70-120 year-old Listan Prieto with some Tintilla that was foot trodden, fermented in concrete and tubs with indigenous yeasts then aged 8 months in neutral oak barrels.  Alcohol 12%.  This is a high-toned, bright wine which mixes white pepper and potpourri incense right from the start.  The focused red fruit matched the polished wood note.  There is a very gentle ripeness. **(*) Now – 2021.

2016 Domaine A. Clape, Le Vin des Amis – $32
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a mix of Syrah from near the Rhone and young Cornas.  It was aged for six months in cement and 6 months in foudres. This is a completely opaque, grapey purple color.  Followed over many nights the nose is incensed with primarily evergreen aromas and floral notes.  For the first few days there is a similarly incensed, evergreen flavor to this wine.  It is bitter with very fine structure through the firm, polished, bitter black finish.  The evergreen aspect eventually reduces with the wine showing focused, floral black fruit in the finish.  ** 2021-2026.

Two old favorites: Caladroy and Coupe-Roses

I have opened up previous vintages of both of these wines to a rather large extent so I am excited to try the latest offerings. The 2015 Chateau du Caladroy, Cuvee Les Schistes, Cotes du Roussillon Villages is a fine value.  It lives up to the name of the cuvee by offering clean black fruit flavors mixed with the notion of stones.  As it is about the fruit and not structure I would drink it within the next few years.  The 2016 Chateau Coupe-Roses, Bastide, Minervois  is a cleaner, not earthy version, of the 2015 vintage.  I admit to missing the deep tone and weight of the previous vintage but at $13 this pure and elegant wine is a good value. These two wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2015 Chateau du Caladroy, Cuvee Les Schistes, Cotes du Roussillon Villages – $15
Imported by Vintage ’59 Imports.  This wine is a blend of  Syrah, Carignan, Grenache, and Mourvedre largely raised in tank.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The interesting color is a medium black-cherry with hints of purple.  In the mouth are stone notes followed by firm yet juicy flavors of perfumed black fruit.  There is a tart start with watering acidity.  The flavors have some weight which lends suppleness to the all mineral and black fruit.  The finish is a touch dry followed by a sense of ripeness in the ethereal aftertaste.  *** Now – 2020.

2016 Chateau Coupe-Roses, Bastide, Minervois – $13
Imported by Vintage ’59 Imports. This wine is a blend of 48% Carignan, 46% Grenache, and 6% Syrah. Alcohol 13.5%.  The fresh acidity brings balanced flavors of black fruit and minerals.  What starts as a powdery texture becomes juicy by the middle with a slightly spicy, mineral finish and aftertaste.  The purity of the flavors come out with additional air.  **(*) 2018-2020.

Three wines for the cold weather

January 14, 2015 Leave a comment

Produced by the famous port produce Quinta do Noval, the 2009 Cedro do Noval, Duriense offers a slight twist for a table wine by including a bit of Syrah.  Though you might expect this vintage to show some age the wine itself is young, firm, and full of barrel influences.  I would cellar this wine another year or two to let the flavors integrate.  The 2012 (Chapoutier) Domaine Bila-Haut, Occultum Lapidem, Cotes du Roussillon Villages Latour already has a lot going on.  This is an athletic wine that you may drink now to warm the bones but is best left in the cellar.   Your best bet might be to start with the 2006 Villa Mongalli, Della Cima, Sagrantino di Montefalco.  The wine is taking on bottle aged flavors but still has a prominent, chunky tannic structure.  I rather enjoyed this wine, the structure is in no ways distracting so we had a hard time leaving leftovers for the next night.  The Noval and Bila-Haut were purchased at MacArthur Beverages and the Mongalli at Weygandt Wines.


2009 Cedro do Noval, Duriense – $17
Imported by Vintus Wines.  This wine is a blend of 50% Touriga Nacional, 30% Touriga Franca, 10% Syrah, and 10% Tinta Roriz sourced from young and old vines.  Alcohol 14%.  There was a stand-up nose of candied red fruit, vanilla, and leather.  After the slightly buttery start the wine revealed fresh herbs and a licorice like note then ended with a racy, almost cinnamon-laden finish.  The wine shows young with a firm side despite the minimal presence of tannins.  **(*) Now – 2022.


2012 (Chapoutier) Domaine Bila-Haut, Occultum Lapidem, Cotes du Roussillon Villages Latour – $25
Imported by MacArthur Beverages.  This wine is a blend of mostly Syrah with some Grenache and Carignan.  Alcohol 14.5 %.  This wine is still primary with syrah dominated flavors, roast earth, and black flavors in the finish.  The wine is athletic in a good sense and without heavy weight.  With air it took on controlled ripeness, a little glycerin, and a savory pepper note that made way to a powdery black finish.  ***(*) 2016-2026.


2006 Villa Mongalli, Della Cima, Sagrantino di Montefalco – $
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is 100% Sagrantino.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This wine offered up strong flavors of black mineral fruit that hit the back of the throat with power.  It took on licorice, hints of tobacco, polished wood, and even more minerality.  The acidity was integrated with some chunky, ripe tannins.  ***(*) Now-2029?


Good Examples of Highlighting the Vintage by Domaine Gauby

Rosemary George MW provides a recent background on Domaine Gauby.  Here she writes that Domaine Gauby is one of the leading estates in the whole of the Mediterranean.  That is quite an endorsement! My exposure to these wines only dates back one year when I tried the 2011 Domaine Gauby, Les Calcinaires Blanc and the 2010 Domaine Gauby, Les Calcinaires Rouge.  I found that both were a bit on the young side with the blanc rather interesting and the rouge containing earthy, old-school flavors.  Last week Jenn and I tried the 2010 and 2011 vintages of Les Calcinaires Rouge.  The 2010 is opening up with deep, dark, earthy flavors.  It was the more generous of the two with the 2011 leaning towards tart, lively flavors.  Both wines exhibit a saline/seaside note along with that of stones.  These wines show the vintage variation in good fashion.  Instead of recommending one over the other I would personally try both at the same time or just grab the one which sounds better to you!  The 2010 was purchased at MacArthur Beverages and the 2011 was purchased at Weygandt Wines.


2011 Domaine Gauby, Les Calcinaires, Cotes du Roussillon Villages – $22
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of 50% Syrah, 25% Mourvedre, 15% Grenache, and 10% Carignan which was aged for 10 months in barriques and cuve.  Alcohol 13.0%.  The nose eventually opened up to reveal earthy aromas.  In the mouth there was a slight prickle on the tongue followed by lively acidity.  It was a little saline with notes of stones and Big Red fruit.   It had a somewhat ripe structure that matched the tart black and red notes.  The earthiness was more ethereal.  It finished with red fruit and citric pith tannins.  *** 2016-2024.


2010 Domaine Gauby, Les Calcinaires, Cotes du Roussillon Villages – $25
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, and Carignan which was aged for 10 months in barriques and cuve.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose was deep with aromas of the seaside, earthy bits, and something animale.  In the mouth were ripe, forward, and generous flavors.  The wine was rounder with less structure and verve but very familiar to the other vintage.  The finish was deep and dark taking on black fruit with air.  There were notes of fine stones and a persistent aftertaste complete with tannins.  *** Now – 2022.


Some Good French Wines From Saint-Peray to Maury

December 4, 2013 Leave a comment

Reading multiple posts about Wine and the Sea is certainly thirsty work.  Any of the wines featured in this post would be a worthy choice.  I am afraid I am a little slow in posting about the wines of Les Vins de Vienne, a collaboration between Cuilleron, Villard, and Gaillard.  The 2010 Les Vins de Vienne, Les Cranilles was an excellent selection but it appears to be out of stock.  Instead you could go with the 2011 Les Vins de Vienne, Saint-Peray which is drinking well right now.   The Chateau Saint-Roch of Lafage is producing interesting wine.  The 2011 Maison Lafage, Chateau Saint-Roch, Kerbuccio is good wine for the money and only the second dry red wine I have had from Maury.  This bottle carries the Maury Sec designation which was first allowed for the 2011 vintage.  The other dry Maury is the 2010 Sarl Fractured, Shatter.   The 2009 Maison Lafage, Chateau Saint-Roch, Chimeres is still young and a little raw at this point, I would cellar it a little longer.  It has been one year since I last tasted the 2010 Domaine d’Aupilhac, Montpeyroux.  It is becoming more approachable but it is best to continue waiting.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.


2011 Les Vins de Vienne, Saint-Peray – $25
Imported by DHI.  This wine is 100% Marsanne aged 9 months in barrels and tanks.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The color was a light yellow straw.  There was a light and tight nose.  In the mouth the wine had a round, glycerin infused body with focused white fruit, good acidity, and minerals.  There were dried herbs and drier flavors in the finish which left minerals and lightly salivating acidity.  *** Now.


2010 Les Vins de Vienne, Les Cranilles, Cotes du Rhone – $17
Imported by DHI.  This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre aged for 12 months in tanks and barrels.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose was light with focused, fruity and grapey aromas.  In the mouth were youthful, concentrated flavors which were almost tart.  There was red and black fruit, acidity which worked very well, and some developing ripeness.  With air there was a little smoke and bacon flavor in the finish.  It had good tannic texture, nice ripe tannins, and red grapey flavors in the finish. Nice wine.  *** Now – 2020.


2009 Maison Lafage, Chateau Saint-Roch, Chimeres, Cotes du Roussillon Villages – $15
Imported by Eric Solomon.  This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 30% Carignan, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre.  The Grenache and Carignan are sourced from vines 50+ years of age.  Alcohol 15%.  The nose was a little reductive at first, eventually revealing macerated fruit aromas.  In the mouth were pungent, red fruit flavors, grapey tannins, and almost citric acidity on the back of the tongue.  It was tangy with a little weight to some red and blue flavors.  It was a little raw in nature.  **(*) 2015-2019.


2011 Maison Lafage, Chateau Saint-Roch, Kerbuccio, Maury Sec –  $20
Imported by Eric Solomon.  This wine is a blend of 40% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre, and 30% Grenache sourced from vines on black schist soil which was aged for 8 months in concrete tanks. Alcohol 15%.  The nose was slightly reticent.  In the mouth were good focused fruit flavors of floral black fruit and black tea.  There was integrated acidity and structure with tannins reminiscent of fine stones.  The wine was almost chewy before the long, expansive aftertaste.  ***(*) Now-2023+.


2010 Domaine d’Aupilhac, Montpeyroux, Coteaux du Languedoc – $19
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 30% Mourvedre, 25% Syrah, 25% Carignan, 16% Grenache, and 4% Cinsault.  It was fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged for 20 months in old foudres and oak barrels.  Alcohol 14%.  Though still young this is becoming more approachable.  The level of very fine and strong tannins suggest further aging is best.  **(*) 2014-2022.


Five Young Wines from Cotes du Rhone, Roussillon, and Herault

I found myself in Friendship Heights last month and being in need of some drinking wine I stopped by Paul’s.  I walked out with five different bottles, the first four of which I recommend.  These wines are on the young side so they should show best next year.  The 2010 Domaine Les Genstas, Signargues had a beautiful nose but needs the palate to relax from some bottle age.  Domaine Tramontane is the project of Philippe Gard and Andy Cook.  These names might sound familiar because Philippe Gard owns Coume del Mas.  You may read some of my thoughts on the 2003 and 2004 vintages in my post Coume del Mas, Collioure.  I thought their 2011 Domaine Tramontane, Cotes du Roussillon has promising future at an attractive price. The 2009 Domaine Gardies, Les Millères was young and serious, also the driest of the lot. The 2010 Pic & Chapoutier, Cotes du Rhone was a young, pure, and clean Cotes du Rhone.  These wines were purchased at Paul’s Wine and Spirits.


2010 Les Vignerons D’Estezargues, Domaine Les Genestas, Cotes du Rhone Villages Signargues – $17
A Jenny & Francois Selections imported by USA Wine Imports.  This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 35% Syrah, and 15% Carignan sourced from 20-80 year old vines.  The fruit was fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged for 10 months in enamel lined tanks.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose developed nicely with fresh berries, baking spice…really quite nice.  In the mouth were fresh fruit flavors tart with minerals before a firm/serious middle.  The acidity was seamlessly integrated before coming to a graphite finish.  The wine seems to firm up with air.  There was a little citrus not in the finish and aftertaste.  This remained a beautiful wine that needs a little time in the bottle.  **(*) 2014-2019.


2011 Domaine Tramontane, Cotes du Roussillon – $15
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is 100% old-vine Grenache.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose begun a little reduced then revealed subtle aromas of pungent black fruit.  In the mouth there was controlled, dense, young black fruit then pungent red and black fruit with some ripeness.  Young fruit now but a fine future ahead.   It had a cool nature, a little ripeness, and expansion in the mouth.  **(*) 2014-2020.


2009 Domaine Gardies, Les Millères, Cotes du Roussillon Villages – $19
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 35% Syrah, 20% Carignan, and 5% Mourvedre.  It was aged for 12 months in 50% cuve béton and 50% demi-muids. Alcohol 13.5%.  The light nose bore blue fruit and a little wood note.  In the mouth this was a good, young wine that was serious but tastes of some young vines.  The blue fruit was a little ripe, with some weight, then acidity and drier flavors in the back of the mouth.  There was some extract and noticeable acidity in the finish.  **(*) Now-2020.


2010 Pic & Chapoutier, Cotes du Rhone – $16
Imported by Nice Legs.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose bore some young, assertive aromas.  There were young flavors in the mouth and firm tannins with black minerals.  The wine played it close in the middle but had a good aftertaste.  There were pure and clean flavors followed by very fine, ripe, black fruited texture in the aftertaste.  Good future.  *** 2014-2019.


2009 Le Chemin Des Reves, Saltimbanque, Carignan, VdP De L’Herault – $13
Imported by USA Wine Imports.  This wine is 100% old-vine Carignan.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose was of raspberry and pungent red fruit aromas along with some black fruit.  There was a certain firmness to the black fruit then a powdery ripeness as the wine became all-around approachable.  There were smooth tannins integrated with the acidity, and a hint of earth.  There was some softness but not too much, for drinking now.  ** Now-2015.


Recently Tasted Wines From France

May 13, 2013 1 comment

The 2010 vintage is providing us with many good wines from France.  At the most affordable end there are many approachable wines.  The $11 2010 Kermit Lynch, Cotes du Rhone has quickly become my go-to selection for interesting and affordable red wine.  Almost as good and a little cheaper are the 2009 Chateau Grande Cassagne, Costeries de Nimes and 2010 Andre Brunel, Cotes du Rhone.  Priced at $9 and $10 respectively these wines are both drinking well.   (And yes, the former is from the 2009 vintage).  Moving up in price the wines show more structure than the 2009 vintage.  More serious are the 2010 Domaine de la Janasse, Cotes du Rhone and 2010 Domaine Charivn, Le Poutet, Cotes du Rhone.  These will both benefit from short-term aging and I suspect the Charvin will become the most expressive of the two.  Finally the 2010 Domaine Gauby, Les Calcinaires, Cotes du Roussillon Villages was a bit underwhelming at this point but this appears due to its need for age.  The flavors were deep with balanced structure.   These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.


2010 Famille Perrin, Cotes du Rhone Villages – $11
Imported by Vineyard Brands.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose is a little pungent with some blue and black fruit.  There were firm flavors in the mouth, red and black, with some salivating acidity and a drying tannic structure.  This should relax by the end of the year but there was no great depth of flavor.  The finish was drying with some citric red fruit.  ** 2013-2015.


2010 Clos du Mont-Olivet, Font de Blanche, Cotes du Rhone – $11
Imported by Dionysos Imports.  Alcohol  14%.  The nose was perfumed with inky berries.  The mouth follows the nose but was firmer and structured.  There were black fruits, grapey flavors, and good perfume before the very firm finish.  ** 2014-2019.


2009 Chateau Grande Cassagne, Costieres de Nimes – $9
Imported by Robert Kacher Selections.  This wine is a  blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose bore definite aromas of meat, soy sauce, and bacon.  The mouth followed the notes with the addition of minerally black fruit followed by riper black fruit in the finish.  There was good acidity from the start.  ** Now-2014.


2010 Andre Brunel, Cotes du Rhone – $10
Imported by Robert Kacher Selections. This wine is a blend of 75% Grenache, 15% Cinsault, and 10% Syrah sourced from 40-year-old vineyards. Alcohol 13.5%.  There was a light but interesting nose.  In the mouth there was a little vigor to the red and black fruit, some grip, and a little texture on the tongue.  It took on a racy aspect as it showed some structure with moderate weight and acidity.  There were some darker flavors in the aftertaste.  A strong value.  ** Now-2017.


2010 Domaine de la Janasse, Cotes du Rhone – $15
Alcohol 14%.  The nose revealed blue fruit and some berries.  In the mouth the fruit was concentrated with supportive structure for short-term aging.  It took on good, grainy blue fruit flavors.  **(*) 2015-2019.


2010 Domaine Charvin, Le Poutet, Cotes du Rhone – $19
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre, and 5% Carignan raised in concrete.  Alcohol 14%.  The color was a medium grapey, ruby.  The subtle nose preceded the mouth.  There were firm, grapey, black fruit flavors which became more expressive on the second night.  The black fruit continued in the finish where drying, fine-grained tannins coated the inside of the lips.  The structure and acidity are in balance with the fruit.  This needs a few years of age but will be worth the wait.  **(*) 2015-2019.


2010 Domaine Gauby, Les Calcinaires, Cotes du Roussillon Villages – $22
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of 50% Syrah, 25% Mourvedre, 15% Grenache, and 10% Carignan fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged for 10 months in 80% cuve and 20% barriques.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The color was a medium purple-ruby.  The nose was light with red fruit, citrus, and a fine scent.  In the mouth there were old-school, earthy flavors, lighter in weight but deep in flavor.  There wine maintained a certain firmness to the drying black and earthy fruit.  There was a very fine, drying tannic structure followed by an earthy aftertaste.  With time there was a slight Pilsner note to this drying wine.  **(*) 2015-2020.


Tasting Wines with Nancy Priest of Frederick Wildman

A week and a half ago Lou and I went down to MacArthur Beverages to purchase some wine and taste a selection of wines poured by Nancy Priest of Frederick Wildman & Sons.  Nancy is the Fine Wine Manager for the mid-Atlantic region.  I tasted the white wines out of the little plastic cups so my impressions for those wines are brief.  We did switch to wine glasses for the red wines and I very glad we did.  For the nose on the 2001 Baron de Lay was in full-glory.  It overshadowed the other wines with its complexity, depth, and engaging personality that floated out of the glass.  This alone was worth the trip.

2009 Domaine Faiveley, Montagny Blanc – $17
Imported by Frederick Wildman & Sons.  This wine is 100% Chardonnay which was aged for 10-12 months in tank and neutral barrels.  There were flavors tilting towards cool with greenhouse and floral notes, a creamy mouthfeel, and turning citric-tart in the finish.  Precise and nice!

2009 Maison J. J. Vincent, Marie Antoinette, Puilly-Fuisse – $18
Imported by Frederick Wildman & Sons.  This wine is 100% Chardonnay vinified in stainless steel with 25% of the wine touching wood.  This bore subtler yellow fruit, as compared to the Montagny Blanc, with notes of stone.

2001 Baron de Ley, Gran Reserva, Rioja – $40
Imported by Frederick Widman & Sons.  This wine is 100% Tempranillo which was fermented in stainless steel before aging for 24 months in used French and American oak.  All of the fruit is from Baja.  There was a strong nose of red fruit, cedar, wood notes becoming minerally with red fruit and aged aromas.  In the mouth the wine was slightly juicy with red cherries and a tart acidity that ran through the finish.  Fresh in the mouth, it should drink well for some time.

2009 Hect & Bannier, Cotes du Roussillon Villages – $22
Imported by Frederick Widman & Sons.  This wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Mourvèdre and Lledoner Pelut.  It was aged 40% in demi-muids, 30% in tank, and 30% in stock vat.  This showed delicate, dark fruit, notes of lipstick, and a textured finish.  Just a short note as I recently posted about this wine here.

2009 Paul Jaboulet Aine, Domaine de Thalabert, Crozes-Hermitage – $52
Imported by Frederick Widman & Sons.  This wine is 100% Syrah vinified in neutral casks then aged for 12 months.  The nose was dark and tight.  In the mouth the dark fruit became dark blue fruit in the middle with compact, linear delivery that gave the impression of cool, strength and precision.  A bit spicy with a wood note.  The fruit, acidity, and tannins were taut and clearly needs to age for the mid-term.

Two Wines from Hecht & Bannier

February 29, 2012 1 comment

Hecht & Bannier are a negociant which has specialized in the red wines of Southern France since 2002.  They select only wine that has completed fermentation which they bring back to their facility for blending and aging.  Since they do not maintain contracts they may freely change their sources on an annual basis.  The cuvees are typically a blend of 5-10 sources.  For aging they prefer to use larger barrels blended with some tank aged wine to preserve the fruit.

The 2007 vintages of Hect & Bannier, Minervois and Cotes du Roussillon Villages were rock-star wines in two ways: the Minervois was flat-out incredible but the Cotes du Roussillon Villages combined the generosity of the vintage with the warmth of Roussillon to produce a wine turned up to 11.  These new selections are quite different.  The 2008 Minervois omits the Mourvedre that was in the 2007 which I sorely miss in this vintage.  It is a good wine with nice dried-herb notes but it failed to excite me.  The 2009 Cotes du Roussillon Villages adds some Lledoner Pelut in a style that showcases restraint and structure for aging.  I quite like it and recommend you cellar a few bottles.  These wines are currently available at MacArthur Beverages.

2008 Hecht & Bannier, Minervois – $17
Imported by Frederick Wildman and Sons.  This wine is mainly Syrah followed by Grenache and “[s]ome drops of Carignan.”  It was aged 30% in tank, 30% in 225L barrels, 20% in demi-muids,  and 20% in 400L barrels.  The nose was bright with tart red fruit.  In the mouth the flavors start with red fruit mixed with dried herbs.  With air the flavors become moderately expansive before they mix with a fair amount of acidity and some tannins. This needs a year or two to come together.  ** 2014-2017.

2009 Hecht & Bannier, Cotes du Roussillon Villages – $22
Imported by Frederick Wildman and Sons.  This wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Mourvèdre and Lledoner Pelut.  It was aged 40% in demi-muids, 30% in tank, and 30% in stock vat.  There is a light nose of black fruit.  In the mouth the blacker fruit has a cool aspect, restrained ripeness yet shows good depth.  With air bit of minerals come out, some ink, and garrigue in the finish.  With air a tea note develops along with subtle spices and lipstick, with a touch of spiciness in the finish along with glimmer of heat.  Give this wine a few years to settle down.  *** 2014-2019.

Domaine Bila-Haut

This week I was able to taste through a selection of wines from Michel Chapoutier’s Domaine de Bila-Haut.  Domaine Bila-Haut is imported by HB Wine Merchants of New York.  Mike Riego was pouring the wines at MacArthur’s where I was allowed to join in on the fun.  This selection represents strong value as a quick use of wine-searcher reveals that the white and red wines I tasted often retail for $20 or less.  These wines were opened right before the tasting.

Vineyard of L'esquerda, Image from HB Wine Merchants

Michel Chapoutier purchased Domaine de Bila-Haut in 1999.  The domaine is located in Latour de France and is composed of 75 hectares of vineyards.  Michel purchased the estate so that he would have access to the older vineyards and sites he felt would make great wine in Roussillon.  The estate is large enough to support new planting and experimentation.  The winery was renovated over the first several years and now has its capacity expanded annually. Vats are being added as well to keep up with increased production.   This biodynamic domaine produces a range of wines including a white from made from Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, and Macabeau along with reds from Syrah, Grenache, and Carignan.

Vineyard for Occultum Lapidum, Image from HB Wine Merchants

I really enjoyed the L’esquerda.  It was the most interesting wine both on the nose and in the mouth and I felt, a step up over the other wines.  I think the Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Rouge would show better after several hours of air as it showed development after half an hour.  The IGP Cotes Catalanes is well done and I believe attractively priced.  I look forward to revisiting some of these wines once they are in stock.  This will allow me to post more thorough tasting notes and actually drink a few glasses!

2010 Les Vignes de Bila-Haut, Blanc, Cotes du Roussillon
This wine is a blend of Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, and Macabeau.  Macabeau is also called Viura and is used in the production of Spanish Cava.  The grapes are sourced from vineyards in the Valle de l’Agly that contain limestone and clay soils and higher altitude vineyards at L’esquerda with granite soils.  These later vineyards lie at 500 meters.  This wine is both vinified and aged for a few months in stainless steel tanks.  This wine had a delicate, floral nose with some grassy notes.  In the mouth the apple-like fruit, grapefruit, and floral flavors were supported by bright acidity.

2010 La Croix de Bila-Haut, IGP Cotes Catalanes
This wine is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Carignan sourced from vineyards throughout Roussillon.  These vineyards are planted with younger vines and represent sites that might be leased in the future.  This wine was produced in stainless steel as the there was not enough vats.  This inaugural release showed a youthful, tasty nose of grapey aromas.  There were bright red fruit flavors, plenty of acidity, and tart red fruit in the finish.  This lively wine would be refreshing to drink cool on a warm summers night.

 2009 Les Vignes de Bila-Haut, Rouge, Cotes du Roussillon Villages
This wine is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Carignan.  The majority of the grapes are sourced from vineyards in Valle de l’Agly with schist soils.  The wine is raised in cement vats.  This sports a darker nose than the Cotes Catalanes.  There are blueberry and dark berry flavors throughout the wine with some Syrah notes.  Within half an hour this developed an enjoyable racy quality that mixed with the fine grape tannins.  This wine leaned towards firm finesse.

2008 Domaine de Bila-Haut, L’esquerda, Cotes du Roussillon Villages Lesquerda
This wine is a blend of 60% Syrah, 20% Grenache, and 20% Carignan.  The grapes are all sourced from vineyards in the cru Lesquerda.  This vineyard lies at 350 meters on hill tops and slopes with granite soils.  As a result the grapes are harvested between the middle of September and middle of October, which is later than the other sites.  Horses are used due to the rugged terrain and inaccessibility.   The vines average 30 years of age with a few newer parcels and one parcel of very old vines.  The wine is aged 90% in cement vats and 10% in oak barrels.  This vintage was produced before Michel Chapoutier had control over the vineyard.  The nose immediately reminded me of a Grenache-based Southern Rhone blend.  It had the most attractive nose out of all of the wines with aromas of dark, complex berries, and herbs.  Though it showed more structure than the previous wines, the lifted, mouthfilling flavors were delicious and easily approachable.

2008 Domaine de Bila-Haut, Occultum Lapidem, Cotes du Roussillon Villages Latour de France
This wine is a blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache, and 20% Carignan.  The grapes are sourced from the vineyard located in the cru Latour-de-France.  They have been working these vineyards since 1999.  Horses are used for some of the work.  This area is a higher altitude vineyards that contain older vines that are 20-35 years of age with some parcels that are even older.  50% of the wine is matured in vats and the rest in casks.  This also revealed dark fruits on the nose but was not aromatically expressive like the L’esquerda.  The dark fruits mixed with pleasing minerals and stones but the overall profile was not as dynamic as the L’esquerda.  The structure in this wine was dominated by ample, fine tannins.  I found the fruit flavors a bit too closed down compared to the level of tannins.

1999 Domaine de Bila-Haut, Rivesaltes
This wine is made from Grenache.  This wine is aged for 24 months with 50% in vats and the rest in oak casks.  There was an earthy nose mixed with sweet berries.  In the mouth this supple wine repeated the earthy, sweet, red berries delivered in a completely balanced manner that was not confected nor overbearing.  I have no experience with Rivesaltes so notes were quite short!