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Showing posts with label Vacqueyras. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vacqueyras. Show all posts

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.

05 November 2012

Rhône: Clos de Caveau, Vacqueyras

Bungener family
with all-singing all-dancing dog.
Henri Bungener has been running his 12-hectare (30 acre) vineyard organically since 1989, which is located all in one secluded sheltered spot up in the hills on the wild-side slopes of the Dentelles de Montmirail. You'll eventually find Clos de Caveau a couple of kilometres out of the little village of Vacqueyras (see closdecaveau.com for directions), which is about 25 miles north of Avignon and 15 miles east of Orange. And handily enough, they also own three different-sized holiday gites on or near the property if you fancy taking in a bit of fresh air and sunshine in the middle of Provencal nowhere. Henri's Vacqueyras reds are made from about two-thirds Grenache, one-third Syrah; and apparently are available in Switzerland, Germany, USA, UK, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Canada, China, Singapore, Taiwan and Japan. That's useful then!

2008 Fruit Sauvage (Grenache, Syrah) - perhaps a tad past it and lean but it does have hints of nice savoury vs 'sweet' fruit still lurking underneath. €6.30 ex-cellars.
2009 Carmin Brillant (Grenache, Syrah) - aromatic ripe fruity nose, very firm yet peppery and has good depth of fruit, a touch extracted though in the end perhaps. €8.70 ex-cellars.
2007 Lao Muse (Grenache, Syrah) - smoky notes with a hint of oak too, concentrated maturing fruit showing lovely 'sweet/savoury' style and peppery edges, firm and gutsy vs delicious fruit. €18 ex-cellars.

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