Friday, 4 June 2010

A nicely aged southern Rhône wine

Domaine Rabasse-Charavin 2000 Côtes du Rhône Villages Rasteau
This is a classic example of a wine that has developed some interesting - how shall I put it - "secondary" aromas and flavours. The wines of this estate have always come across as slightly earthy, even in their youth, but this one has become a bit of a brett monster! That said, the brettiness (basically, a funky - some may say shitty - sort of aroma, caused by the bacteria called brettanomyces, which eats away at the fruit) does blow off a little after a while in the decanter, but the aromas are still very meaty and earthy, like beef gravy or Bovril. Behind the savouriness, there still lies some rich, brambly, leathery, Grenache-dominated fruit pastille aromas and a nice lift of slightly volatile acidity. And the palate is still loaded with deep, dark fruit flavours. The tannins are still quite chunky and rustic, though balanced by really good acidity, and these combine with the fruit and savoury elements to delicious sweet and sour effect. It's quite a big wine, with a typical southern Rhone warmth, almost (dare I say it) like a rustic, aged Chateauneuf-du-Pape. As a regular visitor to this estate (and other Rasteau and Cairanne growers) I used to drink a lot of wines like this - indeed, I used to sell this one. I still enjoy them very much, although they can sometimes lack the elegance I find in many of their Languedoc counterparts. But this wine, on this particular evening, is going down very nicely. Perhaps today is a fruit day - or maybe even a brett day!


Rectangle labels said...

God, I remember when this was seven quid a bottle at Oddbins. I worked there and it was our house red. As usual, when Americans get a taste for something, everyone else is priced out of it. I remember buying 1990 from Oddbins for £14.25 - what a bargain that was! What's that in real terms today? Maybe £40ish so perhaps £50 not so ridiculous?

Leon Stolarski said...

Rectangle (I have to call you that, as you didn't leave your name) - I was selling this wine for just over £10 in 2004/2005, so £14.25 in (presumably) the mid-90's sounds a bit steep. It is a good wine, and I imagine today's price would be somewhere around the 14 or 15 quid mark.