Archive for the ‘Grenache (blends)’ category

Cellers Fuentes Priorat Finca El Puig 2002

January 9, 2009

img_52361The revival of Priorat is repeatedly embodied in wineries as Cellers Fuentes: founded in the ’90s, backed by foreign capital, lead by the passion of a young winemaker playing around with mouthwatering old-vine material. This approach has clearly paid off, with the Gran Clos and Finca El Puig having conquered their place between some of the region’s greatest wines as L’Ermita and Clos Mogador. The 2002 El Puig is a blend of 45% Garnacha, 23% Cariñena, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and 2% Syrah, aged between 12 and 16 months in predominantly French oak. Deep crimson in the glass the nose unveils its origins straight away, with an amalgam of  fragrant berry fruit, herbs, liquorice and hints of leafs and leather, following through to a full-bodied palate with ripe fruit, some earthiness and ample minerality adding freshness and balance. This wine actually showed much better the day after opening, proving the point that most big and bold Priorats deserve serious decanting. 90 points

Source: Vintage Cellars  Price: $50  Drink: Now-2011

Web: www.granclos.com

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Borie de Maurel Minervois la Liviniere “La Feline” 2005

January 8, 2009

img_5241The young appellation of Minervois La Livinière is considered to produce some of Languedoc’s best wines. From its leading producer comes La Féline, a deep crimson coloured blend of 75% Syrah and 25% Grenache. Where the wines from the Southern Rhône already offer the distinctive characters of garrigue and Herbes de Provence, to this one the ripeness and fulness of sun-drenched grapes is added, however, balancing acidity is always in sight due to the relatively high altitude of the AOC’s vineyards. On the nose aromas of cherry, blackberry, plum, herbs, pepper and exotic spice seem to grow more complex with some time in the glass, perfectly balancing the fragrance of primary fruit with spicy-savoury notes. The palate is smooth, round, ripe and powerful with grippy tannins building towards the finish. Its austerity suggests it can easily be cellared for 5 years or more. This is actually a quite fantastic wine at this price. 90 points

Source: Vintage Cellars  Price: $26  Drink: Now-2014

Web: www.boriedemaurel.fr

Capcanes Lasendal 2005

December 13, 2008

img_5109Although the history of Celler de Capçanes goes back to its foundation in 1933, the real success story started when Flor de Primavera – a Kosher wine made on request by the Jewish community of Barcelona – was scored 95 points by Spanish critic Jose Peñin after its release in 1995. Rated as Spain’s third best wine, it placed this cooperation firmly on the map as a producer of high quality wines. The combination of huge old vine resources, modernisation of the cellar and the rise of Montsant as one of Spain’s fashionable DO’s, has further consolidated its reputation. The s0lid range is mainly based on the local stars Garnacha and Cariñena, in most wines supplemented by smaller amounts of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. The 2005 Lasendal is a perfect example with Garnacha (85%) and Syrah (15%) featuring in this exciting wine, both allowed to shine by sensible use of oak. Deep purple in colour, its nose shows fragrant aromas of blackberry, raspberry, redcurrant, pepper and herbs, following through to a palate driven by juicy fruit and velvety tannins, with vibrant acidity adding intensity, balance and nerve. This delicious wine amply demonstrates Capçanes is a producer to watch, even more so now wines from this emerging region are still reasonably priced. 88 points

Source: The Spanish Acquisition  Price: $40  Drink: Now-2011

Web: www.cellercapcanes.com

Paul Jaboulet Aîné Côtes du Ventoux 2005 ‘Les Traverses’

August 6, 2008

The anonymous appellation of Côtes du Ventoux is named after the famous mountain that forms the scene for some of the most heroic stages of the Tour de France. Unfortunately the wines of this region often resemble this limestone peak in their bare simplicity, but when the winemaking is accurate they can offer relatively good wines for little money. Take this blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Shiraz, a lovely uncomplicated, medium-bodied and fruit-driven wine that offers about anything you’d like to see in an everyday drinking red Rhône: a nose with lush red berries, plums, liquorice and a hint of herbes de Provence that follow through to a palate where sweet fruit is wrapped in firm but polished tannins. Simple but good, especially at this price. Buy a case and enjoy! 87 points

Source: Fine Wine Wholesalers  Price: $17.99  Drink: Now-2012

Web: www.jaboulet.com

Domaine des Sénéchaux Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2000

August 4, 2008

I had no intention to write about joint ventures again but with the ever globalising dynamics of modern wine business it’s hard not to do so. Take for example this iconic Châteauneuf du Pape producer. Acquired in 2006 by Jean-Michel Cazes, it adds to a prestigious portfolio including Château Lynch-Bages, Ormez de Pez, L’Ostal Cazes and Tapanappa, the latter a joint venture with our own icon Brian Croser. Time will tell what direction the wines will take stylistically,  this one is made under auspices of previous owner Pascal Roux. Deep ruby in colour the nose still shows remarkable fresh primary fruits as blackberry, raspberry and plum while notes of spice, earth, garrigue and leather add an intriguing complexity. Time has smoothed the tannins, lending the wine an appealing elegance only found in Châteauneuf with sufficient bottle-age, without loosing its finely woven structure that guides the core of sweet fruit towards a long and satisfying finish. Maybe a bit old fashioned but certainly well-made. Bravo! 92 points.

Source: Swanbourne Cellars  Price: $60  Drink: Now-2010

Domaine du Meteore Les Orionides 2004

February 17, 2008

img_4164.jpgIf you like to know what’s really happening on the French wine scene it is a must to have a good look at new names from the southern corners of the hexagon. Innovative winemaking, ecologically friendly viticulture, tremendously exciting terroir-driven wines at reasonable prices are the keywords for regions as Languedoc, Roussillon and Provence. Domaine du Météore is one of those small producers that have emerged from the New South with rapid speed and its wines are indeed as fascinating as the meteor showers they are named after. The 2004 Les Orionides is a cuvée of 55% Syrah, 20% Mourvèdre, 15% Grenache and 10% Carignan, varieties that all contribute their own unique virtues to this modern styled wine. Deep purple in the glass, the nose is marked by the relatively large Syrah component and élévage in barriques for 12 months with aromas of blackberry, raspberry, violets, thyme, juniper, earth, cedar and spice. The palate is concentrated and rich with powerful, mouthdrying tannins, yet it always retains its softness and elegance with fresh mineral acids cutting through layers of fruit. This is a delectable wine that offers a honest and different experience. 90 points

Source: Ce Soir Wine Importers  Price: $30  Drink: Now-2010

Domaine du Meteore Les Leonides 2004

February 15, 2008

img_4161.jpgWith surging prices for wines from Burgundy, Bordeaux and the Rhône it sometimes pays off to hunt for wines from lesser known regions like the Provence and Languedoc-Roussillon. In those regions the bulk of production consists of Vin du Table or Vins de Pays, offering total freedom for producers to make some innovative wines from commercial varieties as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. But to experience true character and optimal expression of terroir one has to look for wines that are produced within the regulations of an AOC. One of the most exciting ones is Faugères, situated on the steep south-facing slopes of the Cévennes. Poor schist soils and hot, dry conditions during summer form the conditions in which Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan thrive as blending partners for the red wines. All four are found in Les Leonides from Domaine du Météore, a wine made in the traditional mould with no oak contact during fermentation and élevage. This allows the intense fruit to express itself fully in the wine by showing fragrant aromas of cherries, brambles, blackberries and garrigue. The medium-bodied palate has a nearly creamy softness where fruit, superfine tannins and mineral acidity are perfectly balanced. Add a Carignan derived rustic finish and voilà, a challenging and interesting wine that absolutely over-delivers at this price. 89 points

Source: Ce Soir Wine Importers  Price: $20  Drink: Now-2009