Monday, 23 August 2010

A brilliant white wine from Provence

This was a bottle that had been hanging around on our (largely redundant) dining table for a good few weeks, now. I sold out of the 2007 vintage of the same wine a few months back, but still have a couple of dozen of this one left. A local customer of mine had previously taken some of the '07, but decided to take a punt on the '06 when the '07 had run out. He tried a bottle and decided that he didn't like it nearly as much as the '07. Naturally, I was happy to take the remaining bottles off his hands and supply him with a substitute. Based on what the customer had said, I was minded to bin-end the last couple of cases, thinking it might need drinking quickly. But then again I was curious to see "what's not to like" about it. So I finally got around to opening a bottle on Saturday.

It is an amazingly deep gold colour for a wine of only 4 years of age, and if I didn't know this wine so well, I might even think it was going over the edge. But not a bit of it. The nose is clean as a whistle, fresh and hugely complex, and simply packed with aromas of ripe fruits - peach, apricot, apple - honeysuckle and exotic spices. Since my last bottle, notes of toffee and orange marmalade have appeared, suggesting richness, which is confirmed by the rich, mouth-filling palate, with complex flavours of candied fruits and flowers, stewed apple, mandarin and spice. And again, though made in a very slightly oxidative style (some of the blend spends 11 months on oak barrels, whilst the rest is aged in large ceramic egg-shaped vessels) it is clean, fresh and full of vitality. At the same time it is also deceptively soft, approachable and voluptuous, long in the mouth, finely balanced - and utterly delicious! In fact, consumed over 2 days, it has just got better and better. So much so that I was pretty devastated to find I had drunk it all. It really did leave me wanting more! Indeed, I think this wine will go on improving for a few years yet, like a good white Chateauneuf - or even a Trévallon white. I'm so glad I didn't bin-end it, and I will certainly be keeping at least half a dozen by for myself to enjoy over the next 5 years or more.

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