Monday, 3 May 2010

Some new Roussillon wines

I'm still busy writing tasting notes on lots of new Roussillon wines, before (hopefully) getting an email newsletter out to all of my customers and subscribers next weekend. Not before time, I might add, since I have yet to publicise the last lot of new wines from La Marfée and Mas Foulaquier, never mind these latest wines. I must do better! Meanwhile, here's some notes on 3 wines I've been tasting this week.

A lovely transluscent ruby/blood red core, fading gently to a wide rim. The nose has complex aromas of poached bramble and strawberry, garrigue herbs and orange peel, leather and older oak (i.e. with a suggestion of cedar, rather than vanillin). Lurking in the background, there are some meaty, savoury notes, along with a hint of red capsicum, giving the wine an almost (dare I say it) Bordeaux-like profile(!) The savouriness on the palate, though, is maritime Roussillon through and through - after all, Elne, where this wine is grown, is barely 10km from the sea, and those sea mists can often reach this far inland. But there's plenty of fruit, toowith more in the way of red fruit than black (notably cherry and redcurrant) which combine beautifully with the savoury elements. Soft tannins and decent acidity make for a typical (of this cuvée) complete the package, in a wine that has a deliciously sweet and sour quality. It is very drinkable now, but undoubtedly has the structure to evolve nicely over the next 3 to 5 years. A classy wine. £10.99.

50% Grenache Gris, 30% Macabeu, 20% Carignan Blanc, fermented and aged for a year in oak barrels. A medium-hued, shiny gold colour, with pale orange glints. This is a considerably complex mix of tree fruits, citrus, minerals and creamy/toasty oak. It is hard to pick out the individual fruits, but there is a suggestion of apple, peach and orange zest, with a real hint of nuttiness. Although clearly made in a very slightly oxidative style (think old-style Rioja) it really is super-fresh and clean as a whistle. The palate is nutty and rich, with those complex fruit flavours combining beautifully with the oak, with just a hint of oak tannin. There is a refreshing streak of citrus and apple acidity and subtle hints of spice, reminiscent of apple pie spiked with cinnamon and cloves. Although quite rich, it is never more than medium-to-full bodied, with a long, spicy finish. It is a joy to drink now, but I also feel it has genuine ageing potential, over the next 5 or even 10 years. It is a cracker, and even better than the excellent 2007. An absolute steal at £12.50.

80% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah, 10% Grenache, aged for 24 months in oak barrels. An almost opaque, deep purple colour with a tiny rim. The nose has masses of bramble fruits and blueberries, with toasty oak. There is a lot of other stuff going on in the background, too - polished leather, exotic spices, coffee and chocolate and an attractive hint of orange peel. It sounds full-on, and it is, but it is classy, with a certain amont of elegance. The palate is crammed full of fresh, vibrant fruit, with intense, juicy acidity and a rasp of mouth-puckering but fine-grained tannin. As the nose suggests, it is rich and spicy, but all the while suggesting elegance and restrained power, rather than being a bruiser - it caresses the taste buds, rather than assaulting them. It is very long, too, with a mouth-watering sweet and sour finish. Having said that, this is a wine that really demands time in bottle. It has considerable structure, but the oak is quite dominant at present, and will take a few years to really integrate. Nevertheless, it is a very fine wine, and those with the patience to age it for 10 or even 15 years will be richly rewarded. £14.50.

Now I'm off to visit my sister in Spain for a few days. Depending on Internet access, I'll try and post some thoughts in a couple of days - but I hear the weather is going to be lovely, so it may be difficult to drag myself away from the pool!

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