Alongside all the other things that have been occupying my time in recent weeks, I have been dealing with my annual shipment of wines from Provence, including Domaine de Trévallon, Chateau d'Estoublon and a grower new to my list, Villa Minna (of which more in my next post). Meanwhile, here are my notes on a rosé and a red that I have just uploaded to the website.
1/3 each of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, aged for 6 months, partly in oak barrel and partly in stainless steel. There is an orangey quality to both the colour and nose of this wine - an exquisite shade of pale onion skin/terracotta, with a delightful pot-pourri of flowers, summer fruits (redcurrant, raspberry, peach) and herbs and juicy tangerine. At 14.0% abv, it is definitely a food wine rather than a quaffer, but whilst undeniably rich and heady, it certainly isn't hot. The palate is in fact beautifully rounded and complex, offering soft red fruit and citrus, a layer of creamy richness, mouth-watering acidity and even a modicum of tannin. Again, there is a subtle herbiness, which combines seamlessly with the other elements in a tangy but elegant wine. It compares well with some of the finest rosés Provence has to offer (for instance, the excellent, though very pricey wines of Domaines Ott) at a price that doesn't break the bank. Classy wine! £15.79
The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that the denomination has changed from Vin de Pays des Bouches du Rhone to IGP Alpilles. This is the result of recent reforms in the French wine regulations - see here for more information (for time-rich wine geeks only!). Essentially, though, nothing has changed - and the wine in the bottle is as good as ever - if not better!
A 50/50 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, with each variety aged in oak foudres for 20 months, prior to blending and bottling. The colour, which is deep-ish but semi-translucent, hints at an elegant wine - as does the truly evocative, perfumed nose, with its intense aromas of raspberry, redcurrant, cranberry and blackberry, hints of woodsmoke, garrigue herbs, garam masala and polished old wood. Neither the Cabernet nor the Syrah have the upper hand, with a touch of cassis and charred red capsicum melding nicely with hints of smoky pastrami and violet. As for the palate, I don't think I have ever tasted a Trévallon that shows such elegance and finesse in its first flush of youth. It is medium-bodied, rather than full-on, again more red fruits than black, and beautifully tangy, with ripe, supple tannins, soft citrus acidity and a noticeable streak of minerality. Subtle hints of lapsang tea, black olive tapenade, all-spice, meat and herbs de Provence show through, carried along upon waves of mouth-watering fruit. It is all so beautifully balanced and at 13.0% abv (quite unusual in these times of global warming) perfectly ripe - a sign of exceptional winemaking. This may not be a 20-year wine, in terms of development potential (though who is to say it won't be?) but it is so delicious now. Wines can sometimes go through a "closed" phase, but I suspect that this one will remain open for business, so if you want a clue as to the glories of an aged Trévallon, but don't want to wait, then this is the one. An utterly compelling wine. £38.75.
I'm not quite done with writing-up all of these new wines, but already have a few more notes in the can, as it were, so will be adding a few more blog entries over the next few days.