Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Astonishing wine from 1978

Puig Parahy is not a name that is well known but it deserves to be. Georges Puig makes some very good wines at his family's estate in the Roussillon region of southern France but what the family has long excelled at is offering mature vintages of exquisite Rivesaltes Rancio wines.

When we visited the estate just before Easter 2011, we were fortunate to arrive a couple of hours after The Wine Advocate's reviewer for this region had left. That meant that not only were there bottles out for tasting meant for us but older vintages of both the table wines and the Rivesaltes. Indeed, this was the first time in my life I tasted a wine older than anyone I have ever - to the best of my knowledge - met.

The youngest wine was a 2009, nowhere near ready for bottling but showing good potential. The 2005 was already displaying some of the Rancio characteristics and, skipping the odd bottle here and there (not that I did during the tasting), I found that a jump of six years seemed to bring on new delights. Then came 1978 which was a real turning point between the younger wines and the more mature wines. Incredible Rancio character, all figs and raisins, chocolate and nuts with wonderful oxidation that combines all these ingredients so well. After nearly a year, the memory has faded very slightly so I am opening another bottle as I write...

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