Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Is this really just a Cotes du Rhone?

Now, I am fairly well versed in what a Cotes du Rhone should taste like and that can (and does) cover a huge range of styles - think of all the different grapes than can go into one of these bottles for a start. However, I have certain expectations: a lighter style of Chateauneuf when I open a bottle of Coudoulet de Beaucastel or Raymond Usseglio's CDR, perhaps, or something truly elegant from Grand Veneur or ultra-modern from Domaine de Cristia. Amongst the CDR producers themselves, I expect fruit and a medium body above all else: something easy and very pleasant to quaff but not something that is going to make me stand up and shout.

I have always known the Bressy-Masson 2009 CDR is cut from a rather different cloth (that's why I bought it, after all) but tasting it again last night reminded me just how different it is. Yields were very low in 2009 so Marie-France Masson decided to make only a little of the very top Rasteau cuvee, A la gloire de mon pere, and ensure there were good quantities of the cuvees lower down the scale. In particular, the CDR which is more Rasteau than generic.

What does that mean? Well, Rasteau is the second hottest village in the southern Rhone (after Chateauneuf-du-Pape) so Grenache, which is king here, ripens superbly, especially in a vintage such as 2009 which, I think, produced even better wines here than 2007 (which tended towards slightly overly alcoholic wines here). The fruit is very full but it is texturally that the wine wins for me. The mouthfeel is full with plenty of glycerin and the acidity is just enough to keep the wine perky. The fruit itself is deep and red but not in a light, strawberry way; rather it has all those things going on that some tasters would describe as underbrush and tar along with kirsch and black cherries etc etc. Whatever, this is a lot of wine for an incredibly modest price tag.

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