Thursday, 15 April 2010

More than midweek drinking - another superb Languedoc wine

Well, I would say that, wouldn't I? After all, I sell the stuff. But there's no getting away from it, this latest batch of wines I have been busily writing-up for my website over the last few weeks have provided me with immense drinking pleasure. I must admit that writing tasting notes for the website is not something I find easy, especially when there are around a dozen different wines for me to taste and get to know intimately (something that I think is essential if I am selling them). However good they may be, it can actually be very difficult to find ways to convey my thoughts about each individual wines without occasionally feeling like I am repeating myself. Then again, I guess it makes me concentrate even more on the subtelties of each wine and the things that make them different and worthy of contemplation. I just hope that my customers (and readers of this blog) don't think I'm talking waffle all the time. I guess there's only one way to find out - if you live in the UK and have a chance to buy the wines, then do so, and let me know your thoughts. Anyway, this is the last of them, for the time being (before an even bigger batch of wines from my Roussillon growers arrives towards the end of next week) but has exceeded even my expectations for what is after all a reasonably humble wine.

The word "tradition" usually indicates a grower's basic wine, and this one is no different. Domaine d'Archimbaud produces two red cuvées; the oak-aged La Robe du Pourpre, which I wrote about a few days ago, and this one, which is aged in vats or "cuves", which tend to be made from concrete lined with epoxy resin - so absolutely no oak influence. At well under two years old, this wine shows a bright, young ruby/blood red colour. The nose is heavy with the scents of sweet briary fruits, red cherries, tar and the almost ubiquitous garrigue herbs, with an intensity and purity which every Languedoc red wine should aspire to. And the palate certainly lives up to the promise of the nose. Whilst rich in fruit, it also possesses a savoury, tangy, sweet and sour quality which coats the mouth and persists for a long time. The rich, robust, warming flavours of the Grenache combine beautifully with the elegance of the Syrah, whilst a small percentage of Mourvedre and Carignan adds even more interest. Indeed, this is a complex wine for the money. And whilst there is ample tannin and acidity, the fruit wins hands down - it is just so drinkable now. Having said that, I am learning more about this sort of wine as the years go by and it is without doubt one that will keep getting better for a good few years yet - 3 to 5, at the very least, and perhaps even more.

I have to admit that, whilst I have been concentrating on (and banging on about the qualities of) my other new wines recently, I had almost forgotten how good the wines of Domaine d'Archimbaud are. I have heard some variable reports about the wines of Virgile Joly (the only other independent grower in the Saint-Saturnin AOC) but in the 3 or 4 years I have been importing the wines of Domaine d'Archimbaud, I have yet to taste an average one. Boy, they are good!

Last night at Nottingham Wine Circle, my friend Mike Lane presented a line-up of wines from Domaines Ott (three separate estates in the Cotes de Provence and Bandol regions). Who would have thought that a line-up which included no less than six different rosés (plus a couple of whites and six reds) could have been so enjoyable and so damn good? I wote some notes on each wine, so I'll post those here in a day or two.


AlanM said...

Yes Virgile Joly. Enjoyed the books. Was shocked by the price of the wines when I visited, there was very little quality price ratio. Very disappointed. I know some people like his wines, Rosemary for example. But not for me I'm afraid.

Vinogirl said...

Will be interseting to read your rosé post.