Friday, 30 June 2017

Southern Rhone whites decantered

Today sees the release of Decanter's August edition with the publication of the results of its Southern Rhone Whites tasting. We have a whopping seven wines in the line-up! As the notes show, Viognier is very much back in vogue.

Chateau Juvenal, Ventoux 2015 'Ribes de Vallat'
Another scoop for Juvenal, following its recent Wine of the Week (for the 2016) on jancisrobinson.com, now recognition for the 2015 - there's very little left but at least the follow-on comes highly recommended! The Juvenal Blanc is a blend of Clairette and Viognier.

'Calls to mind summer Mediterranean meadows and freshly mown grass. Peach, apricot and mango fruits dominate the palate, complemented by a rich, oily texture' (90/100, 13.5% ABV)

Domaine Brusset, Cairanne 2015 'Esprit de Papet'
One of two whites from Laurent Brusset and, if that's not enough, his 2015 Cairanne 'Chabriles' also scooped a Platinum Trophy for Best Value Rhone Red in the Decanter World Wine Awards. This first white is dominated by Roussanne and Viognier.

'An unashamedly hedonistic wine, this is fulsome and honeyed with patisserie-lie character. There's an extra layer of refined, smoky fruits and a fresh, citric finish, leaving the palate cleansed' (90/100, 14% ABV)

Xavier Vignon, Cotes du Rhone 2015
Usually better known for his full-bodied reds, Xavier's Grenache/Viognier blend is also rather good!

'Attractive apricot and peach flavours in the mouth. It's certainly not the most elegant; however, a lovely wine with food, matching with andouillette served with lentils and caramelised onions' (90/100, 14% ABV)

Domaine Brusset, Cairanne 2016 'Travers'
The regular (and lower-priced) white from this estate is a slightly more traditional blend but, as above, with a twist of Viognier.

'This wine has lots of orchard fruits, elderflower and limes. The palate is reminiscent of fresh bread dough, with a lifting mineral edge' (89/100, 13%)

Domaine des Anges, Ventoux 2014
'Opening with lime blossom, pear and almond on the nose, there's a soft, fruity palate with mellow acidity, mango fruit and good length' (86/100, 13.5%)

Also commended: Christophe Coste, Cotes du Rhone 2014 'Dame Blanche' and fair: Raymond Usseglio, Cotes du Rhone 2014


Friday, 9 June 2017

2006 revisited in Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Jancis Robinson has revisited 2006 Chateauneuf-du-Pape making two of our wines her Wines of the Week. She writes:

'I was reminded of how well the 2006 Châteauneufs are showing now when tasting a couple currently on offer from The Big Red Wine Company in the UK. I opened Raymond Usseglio 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (£24.50, 14.5% alcohol on the label) at the same time as Domaine de Cristia 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (£23, 15%) and enjoyed how they played tag in the glass. At first the Raymond Usseglio wine was the more impressive – much denser and richer – but then the Cristia came up on the outside lane and overtook it, offering more elegance and staying power, despite the alcohol level, and making the Usseglio look a little grainy and tired after an hour or so.

'But the main message is that this vintage of Châteauneuf is drinking very well at the moment and, for serious, ageworthy wines that have had almost 10 years in bottle, they are not desperately expensive.'
2008 review: Blackish crimson. Meaty molasses notes from what is obviously a very concentrated cocktail. One of the spiciest, most arresting noses among these 2006 regular bottlings. Big boned with a hint of yeast extract/Marmite. Serious, lots of effort in here. Still some drying tannins on the finish. Very serious wine. 18- Drink 2015-27
2017 review: Lively ruby. Strong garrigue aromas. Very rich and warm. Sweet start with freshness on the finish initially and good fruit concentration in the middle. In the glass it became heavier and heavier and lost its refreshment value. 16.5 Drink to 2023

Our tip: enjoy this wine over half an hour or so after opening!

2008 review: Thick and dense with an element of stewed fruit about it. Pretty good but lacks a little bit of zip. Lots of pleasure if not too expensive, though I do wonder whether it wasn't picked just a little bit too late? Grenache with an admixture representing just 10%. 17.5 Drink 2015-27

2008 review: An odd metallic note on the nose. Quite feral notes(10% Mourvèdre and 10% Syrah plus Grenache) and masses of drying tannins on the finish. Some heat on the finish too. BIG! But for the moment it's a little formless. Bit of a hole in the middle. 16 Drink 2014-20

2017 review: Medium ruby. Big and round with tannins well in retreat. Rich tamarind flavours. In the glass it looked fresher and fresher. Admirable purity considering the alcohol level. This vintage is showing very well currently.  16.5 Drink to 2025