Archive for the ‘Mourvèdre’ category

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


Salvador Poveda Toscar Monastrell 2005

February 22, 2008

img_4166.jpgThe huge transformation the Spanish wine industry is undergoing becomes clear when one has a look at Salvador Poveda’s brand new winery just outside Monóvar in the Denominacíon de Origens Alicante. Although build to cater for the hordes of sun-seeking tourists that visit the Costa Blanca, it’s also a natural continuation of an extremely succesful family business that started in 1919. Monastrell is the name of the game as shown in the rosado, Alicante’s unique Fondillón and some of the red wines. Toscar is the joven offering in the Monastrell range, a bright purple wine that is packed with ripe plum, blackberries, spice, mediteranean herbs and earth. Medium-bodied on the palate the balance between sweet juicy fruit, generous fruit tannins and refreshing acid is just right, making this wine an uncomplicated and ultimate quaffable crowd-pleaser. At this price it offers extremely good value too. 87 points

Source: Ce Soir Wine Importers  Price: $13  Drink: Now-2009


Bodegas Castano Gran Decarado Monastrell 2004

February 21, 2008

img_4168.jpgI’ve tasted my way through quite some French Mourvèdre blends last week and regarding the fact that with more than 100,000 hectares this is Spain’s second most planted variety, the journey continues at the other side of the Pyrénées. Commonly known as Monastrell, it is the main black grape variety in DOS as Alicante, Almansa, Valencia and Yecla. Bodagas Castaño is the most significant producer in the latter with 400 hectares of vines of which two thirds are Monastrell. Not shunning innovative blends with varieties as Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, the bodega’s single varietal Monastrell is undoubtedly my favourite. Deep purple in colour it offers a charming nose with aromas of blueberry, plum, liquorice, game, earth and a hint of ash. The same themes appear on an impeccable clean palate which is loaded with fine, mouthcoating tannins that gradually grow more assertive towards the finish. Ten months maturation in American oak add spice and structure while fresh acidity balances the richness of the fruit. A lovely, well made wine that drinks perfectly now. 88 points 

Source: Toro Wines  Price: $25  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

Domaine du Gros’Nore Bandol 2004

February 14, 2008

img_4160.jpgBandol is a unique appellation in the Provence. It is in this relatively small area where the sundrenched and protective south-facing restanques offer the right conditions for Mourvèdre to fully ripen. That’s the reason why this terroir is mostly dedicated to this surly variety, more strongly still, for a long time Bandol was its last stronghold while in other Provençal areas earlier ripening and higher yielding varieties were planted. The hot conditions combined with a long growing season inevitable lead to sturdy wines with a lot of alcohol and tannins, the main reason why in many winegrowing regions Mourvèdre is mostly used as a blending partner that adds a sturdy backbone. However, in Bandol it plays the starring role with a statutory minimum of 50% in any blend with the other permitted varieties Grenache and Cinsault. That most growers in Bandol go well beyond this limit gives an indication of its virtuosity.

Domaine du Gros’Noré is one of those excellent producers that embodies Bandol’s soul with self imposed low yields, manual viticulture and modern winemaking as the main ingredients for this intriguing wine. The domaine’s commitment to authenticity is further shown in the blend that consists of 80% Mourvèdre, 15% Grenache and 5% Cinsault, resulting in a wine that looks deep, inky purple in the glass. Maturation in big foudres allows the fruit to express itself through an array of aromas reminiscent of cassis, prunes, cherries, liquorice, leather and undergrowth. The rich, thick, voluptuous palate is loaded with flavour and tannins remarkably balanced by superb acids that add subtility and class. The generosity of this hedonistic wine could be enjoyed straight away although it will evolve into something really special when cellared with patience. 92+ points

Source: Vintage & Vine/Liquid Library  Price: $70  Drink: Now-2018


Domaine de Rimauresq Rose 2006

February 13, 2008

Rosé represents around 80% of the total production of the Côtes de Provence and regarding the colourful palette of  varieties and terroir I’ve decided to focus on another example of the modern and dry style. The identity of the Domaine de Rimauresq rosé is based on an exotic mix of Cinsault, Tibouren, Mourvèdre and Grenache, all cornerstones of the more traditional blends. Add the complex and unusual terroir, a composition of granite, rocks, quartz and schist and you get a different wine with mineral purity like this. Pale salmon with an onion skin hue, the nose shows aromas of small red berries, peach, flowers and a hint of spice. The harmonious palate opens with a soft and smooth texture that slowly gives way to rather austere mineral acidity on a bone-dry finish. This is another cracking new-wave rosé that shows why the Provence is the uncontested leader of this style. 88 points

Source: Fonty’s Pool  Price: $25  Drink: Now