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30 June 2010

R & L "wines of the moment" 2005-2010

Originally posted on WineWriting.com: "Updated regularly or occasionally as fits the mood, these everyday wines, new releases and sporadic superstars caught my attention for one reason or another. Not exactly a wine of the week or month but could be: hopefully more spontaneous than that." From June 2010 onwards, all "wines of the moment" have been featured directly on both blogs as individual posts, as it seemed like a much better idea!

Summer 2010
2009 Château La Grave red Minervois (Syrah, Grenache, Carignan) - vibrant spicy black cherry, cassis and liquorice; juicy, fairly easy with soft-ish palate and nice fruity finish. €5.90 cellar door, £6.95 Stone Vine & Sun. 85+

Spring 2010
2007 Castel Fossibus red Faugères Domaine Ollier Taillefer (Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, Mourvèdre 13.5%) - spicy floral herby vs vibrant black cherry notes underlined by a touch of smoky development; well-handled mix of light oak spice, good fruit and attractive tannins on the palate. €12.50 87-89
2007 Expression Brut Crémant de Limoux Antech (Mauzac, Chardonnay, Chenin 12%) - quite fine fizz (especially at this price) with subtle toasted yeast tones vs creamier fruit vs quite zingy citrus; elegant bubbles with nice bready vs fruity vs oily, off-dry finish. €5.50 87

2009 Côtes du Roussillon rosé Château Pézilla (Syrah, Grenache, Carignan 13%) - vivid deep red cherry colour preempts its lively aromatic red cherry and raspberry fruit; zesty juicy palate, nice fruity finish vs crisp twist. €3.30 85
2007 Carnache Corbières-Boutenac Château Maylandie (Carignan/Grenache 13.5%) - black cherry, damson and cassis with smoky spicy tones, hints of tobacco and light vanilla/coconut too; attractive thick coating of dark chocolate, berries, liquorice and chunky dry tannins; quite concentrated and powerful with dense fruit, sweet vs meaty finish and lively, light coconut grip. Needs a few months in bottle to round out a little, yet pretty promising. March. 89-91
Profile on Maylandie and more tasting notes here.

Winter 2009/2010
2006 Cuvée l'olivette Pic-Saint-Loup Clos Marie (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre) - smoky and lush showing nice depth and weight, pretty chunky tannins adding dry texture and bitter twist/bite; fair oomph and grip vs dark cherry liquorice and tobacco, needs a year or so to come together fully. Turns a tad rustic and leather-tinged with very firm framework, but its solid trad Languedoc style seduces you in the end. A bit dear though @ €12.50. 88
2008 "One Block" Côtes du Roussillon Domaine Treloar (mostly Grenache, Syrah 13.5%) - nice upfront chunky, spicy and lightly smoky style; showing lush dark cherry and liquorice vs tad of spicy wood texture and dry grip, then lively peppery dried black fruit finish. Approx €7.50 France, €9.50 Germany, £10 UK. 87+
Profile on Treloar and lots more wines here.
2008 Tautavel Côtes du Roussillon Villages Domaine des Trois Vallées (Syrah, Grenache, Carignan) - quite chocolate oaky to start, but it has nice rich fruit too showing liquorice and spicy floral notes; attractive combo of dry grip and refreshing bite on the finish. 87+
2007 Elégant Carignan
"vieilles vignes" Domaine Mastrió vin de pays des Côtes Catalanes (13.5%) - aromatic, floral even, blueberry fruit on nose and palate; shows nice elegance vs intensity, rich and ripe vs spicy with subtle oak notes; attractive texture and length too. 90+
Mastrió is a newish Roussillon estate (Bélesta): profile to follow...
2005 Carinyana 1878 Domaine Puig-Parahÿ Roussillon (very old Carignan 14.5%) - a touch stewed/oxidised although attractively mature and meaty/savoury with caramel and tobacco notes too; quirky old style turning more attractive with a bit of air (despite its apparent rapid development) with nice soft liquorice finish vs peppery notes too. 85+
Above wine discovered at a Domaine Treloar wine club "themed" tasting evening. It also prompted me to go and see Georges Puig down in Passa: full profile and tasting notes including a red Rivesaltes (Vin Doux Naturel) from 1945!
2008 Trémoine de Rasiguères rosé Côtes du Roussillon (13.5%) - less chunky and red than the 2007 but still a big fruity winter rosé, with weighty oily mouthfeel vs lively refreshing red fruit finish and light bitter twist too. €5.90 87

Autumn 2009
2008 Terrassous rosé Vignerons de Terrats Côtes du Roussillon (13%) - quite chunky vs creamy red fruit cocktail making this a good all-round foodie rosé style; rounded and oily with wild cherry fruit and refreshing dry finish. €4.50 87
2008 "Vieilles Vignes"
rosé Arnaud de Villeneuve Côtes du Roussillon (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre 13%) - pretty red rosé, fairly full bodied rounded style with quite lush raspberry/strawberry fruit and "vinous" oily mouthfeel vs dry and crisp. €4+ 85
Lots more Roussillon rosés here.

Summer 2009
2008 Muscat sec Domaine de l'Arca vin de pays des Côtes Catalanes (12.5%) - simple but well-done, attractive aromatic dry Muscat style with grapey citrus characters; yet also has nice zesty, floral and mineral / oily notes and texture giving it an almost Riesling like profile. €3.90 Casino. 80-85
More Muscat here...
These two reds were discovered at a Domaine Treloar wine club "themed" tasting:
2005 Minervois rouge Château de Puicheric - quite rich blackberry nose with spicy tones and a hint of toasty oak; well-made with a bit of character and nice fruit, weight and rounded tannins; turning more savoury with airing vs underlying liquorice 'sweetness'. Drink now although may improve for another year or two. €6.99 87+
2003 Minervois rouge Domaine Lignon - maturing smoky notes with tobacco and leather vs herby edges, fairly intricate mix turning more rustic and liquoricey; lush smooth mouthfeel with tasty savoury finish, quite punchy alcohol (although not over the top for a heat-wave 2003) but otherwise has concentrated lingering flavours and complex long finish. €11 89-91
More Minervois here and browse down the winery A to Z too.

Winter / spring 2009
2004 Faugères Château Haut Fabrègues (Grenache Mourvèdre Syrah 13.5%) - smoky maturing nose showing 'sweet' black fruits & damsons with shades of leather, liquorice and baked wild herbs too; quite rustic and 'inky' but it's nicely thick-textured with dense fruit and quite dry yet softening tannins; attractive drinking now, probably at its best although not lacking in substance and raw character. €5.50 87+
More Saur family wines here (La Grange d'Aïn).
2001 Corbières rouge Domaine de la Grange - complex and smoky with herbal dried fruits, roast beef and black olives too; quite concentrated and tasty with savoury leather notes, still slightly firm tannins v 'sweet' mature fruit, nice liquorice v meaty gravy finish. Drinking very nicely now although it's not going to die tomorrow. €6 Cave de St-Guilhem in Cabestany (nr. Perpignan), tasted Feb. 2009 at Domaine Treloar's Wine Club. 90+
More Corbières.
2008 Côtes du Roussillon rosé Dom Brial / Cave de Baixas (Syrah Grenache 13%) - classic storming Roussillon rosé style, deep coloured with a light touch of tannin adding dry texture; 'winey' aromatic and crunchy red fruits with rose petal edges, juicy and zingy with chunky fruity mouth-feel and full dry finish. Nice foodie (e.g. hake fillet in Provencal sauce). €4.19 87+
More Brial here.

Winter 2008
2006 Cuvée des Hospices Catalans Côtes du Roussillon Villages, Guy Anderson Wines / Domaine Cazes (Carignan Grenache Syrah 14.5%) - attractive fragrant black cherry, cassis and blueberry with liquorice overtones and lightly earthy/peppery notes; punchy palate with lively juicy fruit v light bitter chocolate tannins adding a bit of grip, otherwise it's quite soft with a warming finish. Gets smoother and richer with 24 hours airing and less earthy / peppery. Nice with lamb steak or roasted Mediterranean vegetables; and even a chunky piece of fresh, pepper-crusted tuna. £8.99 Thresher - buy 2 get the 3rd free (= £5.99). 87-89

Autumn 2008
2007 Côtes du Roussillon blanc Mas Llaro / Maison Lafage (13%) - nice dry white with a bit of character and weight too: floral nutty notes v oilier texture, still quite fresh. €3.20 83-85
More Lafage here.
2007 Côtes du Roussillon rouge Domaine de la Chique / Hervé Bizeul & Associés (Grenache Carignan 13.5%) - countersigned by Mr. Clos des Fées (Roussillon, "F") himself, this is well-made and tasty with plenty of ripe black fruits with dark chocolate, fig and coffee undertones; fair weight and grip but nice fruity drinking at the same time. €4.95 87
2007 Collioure Tradition: Jacques Py, Domaine de la Marquise (14%) - spicy vibrant and floral black fruits with liquorice, light leather notes and dark chocolate edges; big powerful mouthful with nice depth and style, dry v ripe tannins / texture, 'sweet' v savoury touches; not so subtle perhaps but I like its immediate fruit and chunky structure. €6 89

Summer+ 2008
2007 Le Rosé de Terrassous Côtes du Roussillon, Les Vignerons de Terrats (13%) - fairly chunky red fruity style with nice food-demanding weight, turning rounded and slick with underlying wild red fruit and biscuit notes; still alive and well. €4 87
2007 Ressac Viognier Vin de Pays d'Oc, Cave de Florensac (12.5%) - attractively lively and aromatic still with lightly exotic apricot and citrus fruits; oily v juicy mouth-feel, a lighter style of Viognier with nice fruit; went well with a fish Jalfezi curry. €4.99. 85+

Spring - summer 2008
2007 Trémoine de Rasiguères rosé, Côtes du Roussillon (14%) - nearer red than rosé in colour, this has chunky aromatic & spicy raspberry/strawberry/cherry fruit with lovely oily texture, pretty potent alcohol yet fresh dry finish too. Serious quintessential Roussillon foodie rosé, it went well with two different restaurant duck dishes; also try with anchovies, grilled Med veggies etc. 87+

Winter 2007/08
2005 Les Serrottes, Vin de Pays d'Oc: La Grange de Quatre Sous (Hildegard Horat-Diop) - very appealing mix of cassis (I think there's some Cab in it?), black cherry, light liquorice and earthy smoky undertones; concentrated and lush palate v firm tannins and commanding mouth-feel (14.5%), tight but not rigid finish with nice coating of fruit v dry grip. Thanks to Isabelle Champart for giving me this bottle and thereby discovering this estate. 88-90
Update 2010: more wines and info on Grange 4 Sous here (Languedoc, "G").

Summer/autumn 2007
2005 Caramany Sélection Vieilles Vignes, Côtes du Roussillon Villages, les Vignerons de Cassagnes-Bélesta (14.5%) - light coconut and cinnamon toasted notes v floral dark cherries and liquorice; powerful, firm and dry palate v lush fruit with dark chocolate twist. A little clumsy perhaps, but a good mouthful of wine for €5. 87
2006 Le Rosé de Terrassous
, Côtes du Roussillon, les Vignerons de Terrats (13%) - lively raspberry fruit and full body v elegant, fresh and attractive style. €3-€4 87
Tête de Cuvée Crémant de Limoux, Marquis de Dompey (AKA Divin'Aude, 12.5%) - inconsistency on the cork front - some bottles slightly musty - but when it's right, this is great value for €3.49 (good old Lidl): attractive creamy yeasty apple and pineapple flavours dissolve into its frothy, invigorating and off-dry whole. 87
2005 Sélection des Vignerons de Maury
, Côtes du Roussillon Villages (Syrah Grenache Carignan 13%) - nice vibrant spicy perfumed black cherry and liquorice aromas lead on to a juicy smoky palate v solid dry grip; good balance between power and quite fine finish. Went down well with fillet steak. €3.50-€4 87-89
2004 Cuvée des Fontanilles Fitou, Domaine du Capitat (13%) - quite rustic and leathery but has nice fruit and grip underneath, then a more elegant finish than it first suggests. €4 83-85
2006 Côtes du Roussillon rosé, Cave des Vignerons de Lesquerde (Syrah Grenache Cinsault Carignan 13%) - pretty typical Roussillon rosé style with plenty of red fruits v zesty dry finish. €3.50 85
2006 Arnaud de Villeneuve vieilles vignes blanc, Côtes du Roussillon (Macabeu Grenache Blanc Malvoisie 13%) - surprisingly nice, dry white wine offering all the zingy freshness you'd want in one mouthful (although it loses its appeal slightly if served anything but cold); coupled with fairly weighty, oily texture. 83-85

April 2007
Minervois blanc, Jean d'Alibert, Languedoc (Grenache Blanc Marsanne 13%, screwcap) - attractive mix of zesty citrus and honeyed roundness, zingy crisp and mineral v fatter texture too. Under €3 87

March 2007
2006 Rasiguères rosé, Vignerons Catalans; Côtes du Roussillon (13.5%) - the latest vintage of this serious rosé doesn't disappoint: deep pink/light cherry colour, youthful fresh and lively with subtle rose petal and morello cherry tones; very zingy with crisp bite and tight length, citrus v red fruit weight v lively finish. Needs a couple of months to fill out. Try with prawn and spinach madras. €4.50 87-89

January 2007
2002 Tradition Côtes du Roussillon Château las Collas (13.5%) - attractive raisin and fig fruit edged with earthy maturing notes and tangier purple plum; quite concentrated and rich v extracted coating of dry tannins, good depth and balance for a 2002 (lesser vintage in the south), still grippy yet has plenty of ripeness and earthy developed fruit. Good with spicy Turkish sausages (beef and mustard). €6 87-90

November-December 2006
2004 Merlot, Vignobles de Carsac, vin de pays d'Oc (13.5%) - smoky plummy fruit set against light toasty notes, full and quite lush yet has attractive bitter twist too. 85+
2004 La Roque, Domaine la Pléiade, Côtes du Roussillon Villages (Syrah Grenache Carignan, 13.5%) - attractive black cherry and liquorice fruit with light leather and cedar, plummy and quite lush mouth-feel v dry firm finish. Bargain at €3: 87+
2000 Côtes du Roussillon, Domaine de l'Auris (mostly Syrah, 12.5%) - attractive traditional style with maturing, earthy leather notes and minty cassis; dried black cherry fruit turning savoury on a fairly elegant palate, light dry tannin on the finish. €4 87

September-October 06
2004 Picpoul de Pinet, Mas Puech, Languedoc (12.5%) - delicious complex dry white, zesty v oily & concentrated with long mineral finish. 87+
2005 Dom Brial rosé, Côtes du Roussillon (Syrah Grenache, 13.5%) - textbook weightier Roussillon rosé with big fruit and texture yet fresh crisp finish. 87+
2005 Latour de France Côtes du Roussillon Villages, Domaine Bousquet (Syrah Carignan, 13.5%) - youthful purple with fresh floral black cherry fruit, up-front and attractive; juicy fruit & soft mouth-feel v light tannin texture, drinking well already but worth keeping for a year. Great value at €3.75: 87
2005 Caramany Côtes du Roussillon Villages, les Vignerons Catalans (Syrah Carignan Grenache, 13%) - deep purple ("smoke on the water...") black colour, very fruity with white pepper and earthy notes, very light oak backdrop; fairly rich and ripe black & red fruits, firm tight & elegant finish. 87+
2003 Cuvée des Presbytes, Caramany Côtes du Roussillon Villages; Vignerons de Cassagnes-Bélesta - lovely peppery pure blackberry/cherry fruit, quite rich and rounded with tobacco edges and dry grip; well-balanced attractive wine. €10 for half bottle in a restaurant: 87-89
2006 Primeur Catalan Syrah-Merlot, vin de pays d'Oc (13%) - pleasant enough, Beaujolais nouveau type - but with more oomph - fruity quaffer; not really my taste, I prefer the white below. 75-80
2006 Primeur Catalan Muscat-Viognier, vin de pays d'Oc (13%) - the latest funkily packaged release from those cunning Vignerons Catalans is very floral and zingy with nice grapey apricot notes, crisp and refreshing; drink it cold "juste comme ça," as the French might say... 83-85
2005 Chardonnay, Mas Sauvy, Vin de Pays d'Oc (13%) - expressive tasty Chardy with plenty of peach and pear fruit, lightly buttery then fresh and crisp. €5.50 87+

July-August 06
2005 Le Pot rosé, Dom Brial/Vignerons de Baixas, Vin de Pays d'Oc (Syrah Cabernet Sauvignon 12.5%) - the 05 is up to the usual standard: lots of raspberry and redcurrant fruit, quite weighty and concentrated finishing zesty and dry. €3.50 87
2001 Côtes du Roussillon rouge, Domaine du Mas Alart (13%) - complex maturing meaty tones layered on liquorice and red pepper fruit, soft and ready to drink with a little dry tannin left to finish. Approx €4.50 89
Fruité Salvat - bright funky easy-drinking range from Domaine Salvat in the Fenouillèdes region, Roussillon: 2005 red, white and rosé Vins de Pays, well made straightforward enjoyment wines. €2.70 80-85
2005 Rosé de la Chevalière, Laroche, Vin de Pays d'Oc (12.5%) - sunny and fruity v fresher zingy tones, easy-drinking and good with simple food. 85

May-June 06
2005 Le Rosé de Terrassous, Cave de Terrats, Côtes du Roussillon (French Catalonia) - fresh aromatic roses and red fruits, tight elegant palate, zesty and dry. €3.82 Auchan 87+
2005 Chasse du Pape Syrah rosé, Gabriel Meffre, Vin de Pays d'Oc (12.5%) - attractive red-leaning style, medium weight v zingy very dry finish. £4.99 Asda & Sainsbury's (on offer at £3.99 from 21st June to 18th July at JS) 85+
2005 Rasiguères rosé, Vignerons de Planèzes-Rasiguères, Côtes du Roussillon (13.5%) - serious and chunky, aromatic rich fruit with fresh acidity and touch of dry tannin, weighty and long; food rosé. €4.50 89

April 06
2003 Latour de France
, Vignerons Catalans, Côtes du Roussillon Villages (Grenache & Syrah, 13%) - nice example of rich smoky liquorice Grenache with a bit of Syrah perfume and dry grip, quite powerful yet fairly soft too. €4.60 85-87

1991 Cuvée Fernand Vaquer red, Frédérique et Bernard Vaquer, Vin de Pays Catalan (Carignan Grenache 13%) - mature smoky nose with seductive fig and savoury notes, soft ripe fruit and tannins, still showing elegant concentration and signs of life; drinking nicely now but won't do it any harm by keeping for another 1-2 years even. €10-12 90+
More Vaquer here.
2005 Minervois blanc, Jean d'Alibert, Languedoc (Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc & Roussanne, 12.5%) - attractive perfumed citrus and white peach aromas and flavours, zesty floral and crisp with lively finish. Screw capped (still rare in France), very good value. €2.50 85-87

February 06
2004 Trémoine de Rasiguères rosé, Vignerons de Planèzes-Rasiguères, Côtes du Roussillon (13%) - redder than rosé with full bodied spiced strawberry fruit, shows a tad of dry grip too; a food rosé rather than a quaffer, try with sardines or anchovies. €5 85
2004 Muscat d'Alexandrie sec, Domaine Rossignol, Vin de Pays d'Oc (Muscat, 13%) - yet another exciting example (see below) of a dry, crisp and mineral Muscat; this one is quite concentrated too with good length, try with Thai food. €4 89

December 05 - January 06
2005 Blanc de Blancs de Terrassous
, Vignerons de Terrats (Grenache Blanc Vermentino Macabeo 13%) - tight and steely at this stage, subtle zesty intensity v attractive oily nutty tones, crisp and dry. 88
2005 Muscat Sec, René Sahonet
, Vin de Pays Côtes Catalanes (Muscat, 12.5%) - sound example of this crisp dry style that Roussillon growers are proving very good at; lots of fresh aromatic grapey Muscat fruit, also shows a bit of bite and bitter orange characters on the finish. €3.75 87
2005 Le Primeur Dry Muscat Sec, Dom Brial/Vignerons de Baixas, Vin de Pays d'Oc (Muscat, 13%) - located up the road up bit from the above, shows similar approach and intensity, perhaps a little more concentrated and classy. €4 88
2004 Le Pot rosé, Dom Brial/Vignerons de Baixas, Vin de Pays d'Oc (Syrah & Cabernet Sauvignon) - attractive compote of raspberry and redcurrant fruit, quite weighty mouthfeel, finishing crisper and dry. €3.50 87

2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, Domaine de Vézian, Vin de Pays Côtes Catalanes (Cabernet Sauvignon, 12.5%) - pretty chunky and earthy blackcurrant/cherry fruit wrapped in quite firm tannins, perhaps a touch unripe in the end but still has some charm. €3-4 85
2004 Minervois blanc, Château d'Agel, Languedoc (Macabeu & Muscat, 13%) - a pleasant surprise, given that Minervois isn't famous for whites: fairly rich oily textured palate balanced by lively aromatic fruit. €3-4 88
2004 Côtes du Roussillon Villages, Mas Jaume (Carignan, Grenache & Syrah, 14%) - upfront chunky black cherry, raisin and wild herbs; quite big in the mouth yet ends up softer and rounded. €3-4 87
2004 'Fenouill' rosé, Domaine Salvat, Vin de Pays Côtes Catalanes (Syrah & Cabernet Sauvignon, 12.5%) - jammy ripe raspberry and strawberry fruit; juicy, rounded and dry finish. €3.50 85

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Header image: Château de Flandry, Limoux, Languedoc. Background: Vineyard near Terrats in Les Aspres, Roussillon.