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Showing posts with label Côtes du Rhône Villages. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Côtes du Rhône Villages. Show all posts

27 October 2016

Intriguing white blends 'of the moment' - Rhone Valley vs Austria!

Matthias Krön and Markus Bach from Groszer Wein, (c) Manfred Klimek

Don't be put off by the retro-flowery-wallpaper label and litre bottle size (something of a 'USP' perhaps to use the marketing babble), the new 2015 Csaterberg 'field blend' (to use the old speak) from quirky Austrian winery Groszer Wein is a delicious mix of appley/cider notes and aromatic greengage layered with ripe creamy nutty 'oxidised' edges, nice yeast-lees intensity, pretty concentrated and textured too with full-bodied (13.5% abv) and nutty almost savoury finish, yet lively and dry with a 'salty' tang. Went well with 'baked salmon in watercress sauce and asparagus' (ho hum, M&S should stock it maybe!).
I'm told Matthias Krön and Markus Bach at Groszer Wein (pic. above) have three hectares of vines here, 'located on the south-east side of the Klein-Csaterberg... a south-west extension of the Eisenberg' (hillside vineyard and now a separate sub-zone) in Austria's Südburgenland region. The blend is created from 30+ year-old Welschriesling, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, 'macerated for 24 hours,' hence the towards-'orange' colour and style, before pressing then 'fermented with wild yeasts in 500 litre barrels and in stainless steel.' So now you know the full story. It's expensive at £25 in the UK - apparently 'only 3000 bottles have been produced' - but this tasty white has got plenty of flavour and you get a big bottle to share! Available from Newcomer Wines in London. Previous words on Groszer Wein HERE.

Not remotely connected to the above but probably got opened around the same time (and I thought it would make a nice 'theme'), leading southern Rhone Valley estate Domaine Brusset has released their Cairanne blanc 2015 Côtes du Rhône Villages crafted from an equally intriguing blend of white varieties: Grenache Blanche (as they spell it on the back-label, although I thought Grenache is 'masculine' hence we usually say 'blanc'), Viognier and Roussanne, 30% of it fermented in oak with lees-stirring adding zestiness, nutty creaminess and texture without any obvious oaky flavours, surprisingly floral and elegant actually (13% abv); good stuff. About £12-£14 in the UK (Great Western Wine, Big Red Wine Co.); €16.50 Mitchell & Son Dublin; US: Adrian Chalk Selection (NY); Canada: Rogers & Company (Ontario).
Also tried their 2014 'vieilles vignes' Cairanne red, which, although concentrated and structured, was a bit overly firm and lacking charm (probably needs leaving for a couple of years to see what happens...).
Previous words on Domaine Brusset HERE.

10 February 2015

Rhone "reds of the moment": Rasteau & Lirac

The large-flavoured 2010 is the latest vintage release of Cave de Rasteau's 'premium' red called 'Les Hauts du Village', which, even if you only do a soupçon of French, is indeed "what it says on the label," a selected 'GSM' blend sourced from old vines on certain high-ground sites around Rasteau. It also differs from their other reds being about one third each of these varieties, with a higher proportion of Mourvèdre as opposed to the usual majority Grenache set-up. You'll find more words about this exciting co-op winery (90 this year by the way) and their other wines HERE, HERE and HERE.
Rasteau Les Hauts du Village 2010 - Mourvèdre 35%, Grenache 35%, Syrah 30% (just the Syrah aged in cask for a year), 14.5% abv. Earthy punchy nose layered with blackberry, black cherry and black olive too, peppery with savoury edges; fairly serious tannins vs lush dark fruit and spicy punchy finish, dry bitter twist balanced by lovely fruit and nice maturing 'tobacco' notes. Wow. After two days open (my old favourite test for big reds): more savoury and black olive on the nose and palate with lingering sweet vs spicy liquorice fruit, the tannins were a little rounder too. Predictably it's one of their dearer wines: €14.40 cellar door, £15.95 Hercules Wine Warehouse (UK), €20.49 O'Brien's (Ireland), $29.99 The Wine Merchant Cincinnati, $20-22 (plus tax) Total Wine & More.

From vignobles-alain-jaume.com
Alain Jaume & Fils doesn't do the southern Rhone Valley lightly, since the family owns vineyards in Vacqueyras, Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Lirac with their winery base in Orange. It's the latter appellation I'm focusing on here, which sits waving at its grander neighbour over the other side of the Rhone and is decked out with the same old big stones and all that jazz. Clos de Sixte is an organically farmed vineyard located in this area and home to the rock n' roll 'GSM' blend I've reviewed below. Click on the web address under the photo for more info.
Lirac 2012 Domaine du Clos de Sixte (15% abv) - Grenache 50%, Syrah 35%, Mourvèdre 15%, and 30% of the wine is aged in cask for 14 months. Delicious bold red with bags of rich peppery black fruits and liquorice, a powerful mouthful yet concentrated and surprisingly balanced actually, fairly soft tannins and complex lingering sweet vs savoury flavours on its big finish. It's actually dearer than some CndPs, although stacks up well flavour-wise against serious examples from there: €13.20 cellar door, £17.50 Ellis Wharton, Wimbledon Wine (UK); €21.50 Mitchell & Sons (Dublin); $22-$28 B-21 Florida, MacArthur Beverages DC, Wine House CA, Total Wine & More and other stores around the US.

28 November 2014

Côtes du Rhône mini-focus

Here's a Grenache and Syrah infused selection of various and varied southern Rhône Valley producers with some of their worth-mentioning winter-warming reds, which I've stumbled across over the last few months...
 From rasteau.com

Les Vignerons d'Estézargues
A mini-co-op winery formed by 10 growers in and around the village of Estézargues, where their cellar is located, which lies roughly between Avignon and the famous Pont du Gard viaduct (without mentioning the Romans). They favour a 'natural' winemaking approach apparently (who doesn't nowadays). These two cost about £10.95-£13.95 at Roberson's in London (so posh prices then); and the US importer is Jenny & François selections.
Les Galets 2012 Côtes du Rhône (Grenache, Carignan; organic, 13.5% abv) - perfumed nose, quite light texture (although not in alcohol) with tasty berry fruit finish.
Grés Saint-Vincent 2011 Côtes du Rhône Villages (Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault; organic, 14% abv) - similar profile perhaps although more concentrated, powerful and elegant too, paradoxically, with a light bitter twist of tannin.

Domaine Saint Etienne
Michel Coullomb's vineyards lie on rolling pebbley terrain around a little place called Montfrin, sitting pretty much smack in the middle of a crow-flies line between Nimes and Avignon (just in the Languedoc technically). Available from Leon Stolarski Fine Wines in the UK (£ price quoted) and Mitchell & Son in Dublin (€).
Perserose 2012 IGP Pays du Gard (Grenache, Syrah, Carignan; 14% abv) - easy-going red, nice sweet liquorice fruit plus a bit of oomph to finish. £7.75
Les Galets 2010 Côtes du Rhône Villages (2/3 Grenache, 1/3 Syrah; 13.5% abv) - attractive Grenache-dominant style showing white pepper and liquorice flavours, fairly concentrated too with balanced soft vs grippy mouth-feel. €17.99 Ireland
Cocagne 2011 Côtes du Rhône (Syrah, Grenache) - hints of toasted choco oak, lots of minty dark cherry fruit though, rich vs firm palate with concentrated finish; nice style. €18.50 cellar door.

Domaine de Mourchon
There's a short-and-sweet profile (scribbled a couple of years ago) of this quite exciting off-the-beaten track estate winery in wild Séguret country, owned by the McKinlay family, and some of their previously tasted vintages HERE. A trio of more recent releases are reviewed for your pleasure below. UK: the Wine Company (Colchester), Big Red Wine Co. (£ prices quoted). Good distribution in the US it seems: the two 'Villages' reds here are about $20+ and $25-$30.
La Source 2012 Côtes du Rhône white (Grenache blanc, Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier, Clairette, Bourboulenc) - charming honeysuckle notes, yeast-lees and peachy fruit; quite rich and tasty with nice crisp touch too. £9.59
Tradition 2011 Séguret Côtes du Rhône Villages (Grenache, Syrah, Carignan) - enticing sweet liquorice and dark berry fruit, hints of spice and dry grip vs fairly soft and tasty finish. £10 (case price) to £13.99 a bottle.
Grande Reserve 2011 Séguret Côtes du Rhône Villages (Grenache, Syrah; older vines) - earthier and chunkier, punchy 15.5% alcohol layered with lots of lush dark fruit vs good bite too. Wow. £18.99

Cave de Rasteau

You'll find previous words on this fairly go-getting co-op HERE (about their sumptuous fortified red Vin Doux Naturel) that basically forms the backbone of the Rasteau village appellation, supplemented by a handful of very good independent estates (some of them are linked below); and HERE as well (note on the 2011 'Tradition'). Here's what I thought of two of their latest vintage releases.
Ortas 'Tradition' 2012 Rasteau (Grenache 70%, Syrah 20%, Mourvèdre 10%, 14.5% abv) - Deceptively fruity and soft at first, turning warmer and more powerful, plenty of tasty blackberry/cherry, damson and liquorice with earthy touches; a hint of dry grip vs sweet ripe fruit, spice and oomph to finish. Drinking nicely now. €7.90 cellar door, £9.95 Hercules Wine Warehouse (Kent, UK), €14.49 O'Brien's (Ireland).
'Prestige' 2010 Rasteau (Grenache 50%, Syrah 35%, Mourvèdre 15% from very stony hillside terraces, small proportion aged in oak; 14.5% abv) - rich ripe and earthy with liquorice and kirsch notes, peppery and minty too; concentrated, powerful, solid and grippy vs lush dark berry fruit with spicy edges; tightens up on the finish, still a bit young although drinking well with the right kind of food, e.g. Chinese roast duck actually. €18.49 O'Brien's, €10 cellar door.



Other Côtes du Rhône stuff elsewhere on this site you might like to glance at:

And there's a bit of 'blurb and bottles' from the northern Rhône as well lying craftily below this post (or click here:) Domaine Belle, Crozes-Hermitage.


31 May 2014

Rhône: Domaine Brusset, Cairanne

Laurent Brusset's hillside vineyards are found around the old ring-walled village of Cairanne (about 20 km northwest of Orange, not far from Rasteau) and in the nearby 'Plan de Dieu' area (yes, it does mean something like "God's land"). Laurent has just stormed the 22nd 'Cuvée Alliance des Vignerons' competition with his red 2012 and white 2013 (the first time one winemaker has won both I'm told) picked from wines submitted by the 16 member wineries of the local Winegrowers' Association. Appropriately enough perhaps, without venturing too far into fact-geek territory, since Cairanne is one of the 16 'named' Côtes du Rhône Villages appellations. Laurent says his philosophy is "always trying to keep the wine's fruit." More info: www.domainebrusset.fr

2012 Les Chabriles vieilles vignes red Côtes du Rhône Villages Cairanne (old vines: 60% Grenache, 40% Syrah; 40% of it aged in demi-muids; 14% abv) - aromatic and earthy blackberry, kirsch and cassis with peppery liquorice notes; full-bodied and quite punchy, concentrated and fruity with light touch of 'chalky' tannins and subtle dark chocolate bitter twist; warm and powerful with lovely vibrant dark fruit, spice and grip. Yum. £15 for the 2011, Big Red Wine Co (UK).
2013 Les Travers white (Grenache blanc, Viognier, Roussanne; 30% of it barrel-fermented with lees stirring; 13% abv) - yeast-lees and nutty edges with fresh vs baked pear fruit, subtle power, honeyed and white peach too vs aniseed tones and light coconut grain texture; almond flavours and rounded mouth-feel vs a more 'mineral' touch, lees and coconut tones too on the finish. Perhaps needs a few months in bottle to integrate more, good wine though. £12 for the 2012, Big Red Wine Co.

31 July 2013

Rhône: "reds of the moment" (and a Beaujolais)

Here's a handful of blockbuster reds (and a more elegant one) worth talking about that have crossed my dinner table (well, four-legged brasserie style zinc and chrome structure) in recent times, in gratuitous celebration of Grenache perhaps. Picked from the shelves of Lidl ('wine cellar' range, so not in all stores), Marks & Spencer and independent merchant Hercules Wine Warehouse.

There's something in the stones
you know: from rasteau.com
2011 Ortas Tradition Cave de Rasteau (Grenache 70%, Syrah 20%, Mourvèdre 10% - 14.5% abv) - nice aromatic sweet Grenache fruit, liquorice and violet too; relatively 'light'/elegant for hot Rasteau country (vintage 2011) yet still has plenty of oomph, as you'd expect, with a touch of bite/grip vs attractive perfumed fruit and an earthier black olive side; ripe/spicy liquorice flavours with weighty yet tight finish and light bitter twist of tannin. €7.70 cellar door, £9.50 Hercules Wine Warehouse Kent (for the 2010).
2011 Vacqueyras (13.5% abv) - attractive ripe Grenache fruit on the nose, sweet berry and liquorice vs spicy earthy edges; firm yet rounded and powerful mouth-feel although tighter and less full-on on the finish than you'd expect perhaps (again 11 vintage, no bad thing though); well-balanced too with dry vs sweet profile and that smooth fruit hiding the alcohol. Maybe not the most super-dooper example, but fairly good value for £7.99 at Lidl.
2010 Domaine de la Curnière Vacqueyras Vignerons de Caractère (Grenache, Syrah - 15% abv) - the nose was a tad 'dirty' when I first opened it, but this smell had gone when I tried it again the second day. Bags of ripe sweet Grenache fruit for sure, spices and liquorice, earthy and savoury too and very punchy; the alcohol's a bit out of balance making the wine somewhat clunky and clumsy in the end, shame as it's got character, just like the winemakers! £11.99 M&S (I got it for less than a tenner though on offer about six months ago).
2011 Fleurie - appealing violet and grapey/cherry fruit, has a hint of grip vs soft fruit and refreshing acidity too; firm-ish and fresh palate vs soft sweet berry fruit, has fair depth too. Nice style, proper Beaujolais! £6.99 Lidl

01 March 2013

Southern Rhône: +50% Grenache half-dozen

Here's another gratuitous Grenache mini-feature, this time focusing on six or seven Grenache-laden reds (re)discovered at a tasting last year, although these vintages (2010 and 2009, both very good) are probably still on sale. I've picked out a few I thought were pretty typical of the kind of lush spicy sunshine red you'd expect and want from the southern Rhone valley, from widely available to 'specialist merchant' and costing £7 to £15 in the UK.

Les Dauphins Réserve 2010 Côtes du Rhône, Celliers des Dauphins (60% Grenache, 40% Syrah; 13.5% alc.) - nice juicy ripe sweet Grenache fruit with spicy cherry undertones, quite soft and easy-going, attractive style. £6.99 Dedicated Wines (widely available).
Belleruche 2010 Côtes du Rhône, M. Chapoutier (50 Grenache, 50 Syrah; 13.5% alc.) - well-known name and label, this is similar to the above wine although more extracted and firmer, yet layered with nice sweet fruit. £9.50 Mentzendorff.
Les Coteaux 2009 Côtes du Rhône Villages, Boutinot (85 Grenache, 15 Syrah; 14% alc.) - quite rich and spicy with lush liquorice and blackberry fruit, punchy and grippy palate vs plenty of lovely soft dark fruit. £8.90 Boutinot.
Réserve du Crouzau 2010 Côtes du Rhône Villages Saint Gervais, Vignobles Foncalieu (80 Grenache, 20 Syrah; 14.5% alc.) - attractive Grenache nose and palate, rich and ripe vs powerful and peppery, tasty sweet fruit vs grip on its weighty finish. £7.99 The City Beverage Company, Hennings Wine Merchants.
Vacqueyras 2010, Domaine de la Soleiade (55 Grenache, 45 Syrah) - more perfumed and minty even, black cherry and liquorice with smoky edges too, concentrated powerful and firm with delicious ripe fruit. £13.10 Charles Taylor.
Les Pierres du Vallat 2010 Gigondas, Vignerons de Caractère (60 Grenache, 30 Syrah, 10 Mourvèdre14.5% alc.) - showing similar wild herb/minty edges, gripping chunky and concentrated vs dark fruit and peppery tones, fair weight with attractive dry tannins vs sweet fruit finish. £14.50 Charles Taylor, €17.60 cellar door. Bottle shot copied from vigneronsdecaractere.com.
Les Plans 2010 Vin de Pays du Vaucluse, Domaine Santa Duc (50 Grenache, 25 Syrah, 15 Merlot, 10 Cabernet13.5% alc.) - meaty savoury notes, pretty solid chunky mouth-feel yet has nice 'sweet/savoury' fruit on the finish. £8.75 Bancroft Wines.

04 December 2012

Rhône: Ogier update, Côtes du Vivarais & Côtes du Rhône Villages

I knocked up a fairly detailed report on Ogier's turreted Châteauneuf-du-Pape operation back in July 2009 (you know what to do), including tasting a few vintages from their Clos de l'Oratoire estate and Les Chorégies, the 'special' cuvée they make as part of an opera-in-Orange sponsorship deal they're involved in. And I met their winemaker at another Rhone Valley property they own in summer 2010, called Notre Dame de Cousignac (goes to a feature on the southern Ardèche: scroll down to the Côtes du Vivarais section). Anyway, you'll find a mini-update below on the latest vintages of these Ardèche wines plus a rather good Côtes du Rhône Villages red. Ogier appears to have converted, or is in the process of, a substantial chunk of their Rhône Valley vineyards over to the organic way of things, which is, I believe, parent group Jeanjean's long-term strategy in the Languedoc and elsewhere too.

Notre Dame de Cousignac Côtes du Vivarais

2011 white (Marsanne, Clairette, Grenache blanc) - lively 'mineral' touches with aromatic cider notes vs more honeyed fruit too, zingy vs rounder texture to finish. Nice style.
2011 rosé (Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault) - hints of yeast lees characters with crisp bite on the palate vs fuller red fruity style. Good.
2010 red (Grenache, Syrah, Carignan) - lively berry fruits with spice and liquorice aromas/flavours, has a bit of grip and weight vs attractive spicy finish.

2010 Ogier Côtes du Rhône Villages - aromatic and spicy nose, 'sweet' fruit with meaty edges, peppery and punchy with nice grip and delicious fruit lingering. Very good.

More info @ www.ogier.fr

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