I posted the following note on my Facebook page last evening and someone suggested that "it feels like a blog post". Which I must say did strike a chord with me - it isn't that I have disappeared from the social media scene (which I guess includes blogging), it is just that Facebook seems a much easier medium in which to post quick entries, directly from my phone. Then again, a lot of potential blog posts have gone this way in recent months, and it seems a shame not to spend a few minutes cross-posting them to my blog. Plus of course there are plenty more (sometimes much meatier) issues that deserve blog posts of their own. Therefore, you can take this as a commitment to start ramping-up the blogging again (yes, I know I've said it many times before, but now I'm serious!). Now if I can just shake off this horrible virus that has been bugging me for the last 3 weeks, I might just find the energy and enthusiasm to keep my promises....... ;-)
This has the unmistakable whiff of a (very) fine wine...... a veritable cornucopia of fresh and preserved red and black fruits burst forth from the glass, combined with (but not to be out-done by) all manner of herbal, floral, medicinal, earthy and savoury aromas. Freshly baked bread/brioche also gets a look in, not to mention a hint of the very finest eau de vie you can think of. Oh and just the *faintest* lick of (older) oak. It really is quite the most complex, integrated and intoxicating wine I have sniffed in a while. If I didn't know better, I would swear there was some Syrah in there, but this is a blend of Grenache and Carignan, so I guess the classic Saint-Chinian terroir (schiste) has worked it's magic once again. There's always a danger that such a wonderful nose might end up as the highlight, but in this case not a bit of it - this wine is absolutely the real deal, with oodles of spice-laden, garrigue-infused black cherry and bramble fruit, rich, ripe tannins and a backbone of truly mouth-watering acidity.
A rather well-known and respected wine writer and Languedoc expert described this very wine as "reminiscent more of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but not too heavy or alcoholic". Well I am here to tell you that the latter may be accurate, but the former is complete tosh. For although it may not be like your everyday Saint-Chinian, it does possess all of the vibrancy and elegance that the best wines from this (relatively cool-climate) region of Languedoc has to offer - and is therefore far more reminiscent of the wines of the northern Rhone. The more I drink it, the more I am falling for it's rich, sweet-sour, tangy-spicy-herby loveliness. Apparently, there were just 600 bottles of this wine produced for the inaugural 2011 vintage. And having not tasted it previously, I have to admit that I bought a shamefully tiny quantity. So small in fact that I will limit my customers to 3 bottles each. And at £21.95 (yes I know, expensive for Languedoc) it is a fantastic bargain. Bravo Véronique Etienne - you have created your masterpiece..... and please save me a few more cases for my next order!