Thursday, 30 December 2010

Domaine Bressy-Masson - the end of a long, hard week!

My final professional stop of the trip, Domaine Bressy-Masson is one of the superstar estates in Rasteau (the others are Soumade and Coteaux des Travers). Marie-France Masson is handing over the winemaking to her son, Paul-Emile but still likes to welcome visitors. Not many wines to taste today as only one Rasteau made in 2008 (Souco d'Or) and too little Gloire in 2009 to be worth tempting me with apparently (a shame as this is one of my favourite Rasteau wines).

We started with a wine I have rarely considered properly. A CDR at more or less the same price as Christophe Coste's excellent Domaine de la Charite would be, at best, duplication in most vintages. However, Marie-France's 2009 Cotes du Rhone, a blend of 70% Grenache with 20% Carignan and 10% Syrah and no oak has a strong, fruity nose, good body and structure with a long finish. More Rasteau than CDR and very full for the appellation. This will be a lovely wine to enjoy over the next three or four years.

The 2008 CDR Village Rasteau "Souco D'Or" is a good achievement for the vintage. As there was no "Paul-Emile", this includes all the old vine grapes normally destined for that wine and, as such, is probably the best "Souco" I have tasted. 65% Grenache, 25% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre with 12 months in oak. Spicy/peppery with some oak evident but pretty fruit. A little lacking in the mid-palate, perhaps, but decent enough depth and length. One to drink soon-ish. In Burgundy terms, if "Paul-Emile" is like a Grand Cru (as it often is), this is a decent Villages.

Inevitably, the 2009 Rasteau "Paul-Emile" is head and shoulders above the "Souco". Made from the grapes of the same 90-year-old vine Grenache (60%), Syrah (30%) and Mourvedre (10%) as much of the older wine, this was only bottled on 15th October after its elevage en foudre. Very closed now but the red cherry fruit can't be prevented from coming through on the nose and (massive) palate which has lots of body and matter. Excellent potential, when the spicy tannins resolve themselves, and a long finish. Hold for two or three years at least.

We finished with a quick round-off of the VDNs, first the regular Rasteau VDN from 100% Grenache, a rose wine which is all honeyed/stoned fruits with just a hint of oxidation and quite complex, very much like Robert Charavin's "Dore". The Rasteau Rancio VDN is in a different class with its deliberate oxidative style and oak ageing. Rich, very complex and fascinating. Rather like just about every wine that has been put before me over the last week or so.

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