Monday, 19 December 2011

A decent weekday quaffer from Gascony

Earlier today, I had a visit from Liz and Tony Gledhill, a charming couple who became friends with Jonathan Treloar and Rachel Hesford, during their (ultimately successful) search for vineyards in Roussillon. The rest is history, of course, but I didn't realise until recently that the Gledhills (who at the time owned a house just a few kilometres from Trouillas, where Jon and Rachel finally found a home for Domaine Treloar) had actually set up a small business, aimed at helping them find a market for their wines in the UK. Liz and Tony have since sold the house and have also recently decided to wind down their business and retire. And so it was that they offered to sell me their remaining stock of Treloar wines, mainly from the 2006 vintage (plus a handful of 2007's). I will shortly be offering these wines to my customers, as part of my end-of-year bin-end sale.

At the same time, Liz and Tony brought me a couple of sample bottles of the following wine, of which they have a few cases to offer me. Considering the age of the wine (not to mention the vintage, which because of the intenses heat was challenging, even for growers in the South-West) I was of course reluctant to take a chance, even at a knock-down price. But it actually provided me with a pleasant surprise......

Domaine de Lauroux Cuvée Confiance 2003 Cotes de Gascogne
A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. As I may have mentioned before (and never tire of telling it) I spent a week in Gascony in August 2003, and it was hot. So hot, in fact, that the leaves were falling from the trees, in temperatures of up to 43C - and the nights were even more unbearable than the days! The whole summer was an absolute scorcher, with virtually no rain for 3 or 4 months, and constantly high temperatures throughout the summer. Hardly "normal" conditions, and certainly not conducive to the long, slow growing grape growing season normally encountered in this region. Nevertheless, growers in the South-West fared better than those in the (even hotter) Languedoc and Roussillon. And this wine is surprisingly fresh. It is carefully extracted, with a bright, medium-hued ruby/blood red colour and attractive aromas of blackcurrant, plum and new leather, with delicate hints of elderflower, blackcurrant leaf, vanilla and tea. Of course, there is a fair dollop of grippy tannin, but this is countered by plenty of ripe, juicy black and red fruit flavours, a touch of earthiness and a very decent level of acidity, which makes for an enjoyable, balanced, tangy/fruity/earthy glass of wine. In fact, before I know it, I have drunk 2 glasses (always a good sign, when writing a tasting note!). I would be very happy to drink this again, and may well take a few cases, with a view to selling it at around £5.99 a bottle - which would be a bargain in anyone's book.

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