Some good reviews in this month's Decanter, starting with Steven Spurrier's reflections on Mas de Daumas Gassac's current release, the 2011:
I rather like that last sentence, I must admit. However, I slightly disagree with Steven over the wine's drinking dates: he suggests it can be broached this year which is, of course, true but, as with all vintages of this wine, it will be so much improved with time. I wouldn't touch it until 2018 at least. I also note that he cites the price as £30; I must be undercharging!
A few pages on in the same issue sees a review of the 2011 vintage in Chateauneuf-du-Pape. After 2010, this was never going to wow anyone but there are some superb wines nonetheless. It is a shame that none of Raymond Usseglio's wines were tasted as I suspect they would have done rather well in this tasting, especially the Mourvedre-rich Part des Anges. Beaucastel was also missing too, perhaps unsurprisingly, rather like you don't often see Latour in a round-up of left bank Bordeaux.
A very respectable 17/20 was awarded by John Livingstone-Learmonth, the UK's leading expert on Rhone wines, to Domaine de Cristia's wine - 'Ripe berry and plum nose with sweet meat, liquorice and spiced new oak. Palate shows red fruit with a fine-tuned pickup of tannin. Garrigue finish.' - and also to Christophe Coste's Chateau Capucine - 'Attractive, fragrant garrigue notes with savoury, toasty oak. A good heart of richness with thyme and flint. Garrigue touches along the late stages.'
I confess I haven't even tasted this last wine yet. Christophe hasn't put any of the Capucine wines in front of me since the debut 2009 vintage. This was one of the wines I showed at Trinity last month then had to vacuvin after the tasting because I was just starting the Dryathlon. I expected it would have fallen apart by now but when I pulled the stopper off, it was as fresh as it had been three weeks earlier. I should probably reassess my views on vacuvin as a means of preserving wine. The 2009 was a superb debut but, for me at least, still needs a couple of years to develop some secondary characters.
Tuesday, 4 February 2014
'The Porker has grunted' was the headline of an email received today from Domaine des Anges boss, Gay McGuinness. Perhaps the citation in Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate will be short-lived for DDA given this but the reviews are well merited and, frankly, long overdue. I know Ciaran spent many hours in frustration that, without a reputable American importer, it was seemingly impossible to get the team at the wine world's most influential publication to look at his wines. Now, fate has played a cruel hand: just as Ciaran has moved on to vineyards new, Parker has handed over the tasting of Rhone wines to Jeb Dunnock who has reviewed the current crop of 2011s from what must rank as the Ventoux' highest vineyard.
First, though, the 2012 Ventoux Blanc, a perennial favourite for its easy fruit and crisp structure. This was awarded 87 points which is really quite remarkable for a Ventoux Blanc:
'Offering up notions of mulled pears, citrus rind and subtle minerality, the 2012 Ventoux Blanc (Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Bourboulenc) is a medium-bodied, clean and nicely balanced white to drink over the coming year or so.' BUY THIS WINE
I have only tasted the 2011 Ventoux red but this wine received a rather good write up, especially considering its lowly price tag. A very respectable 88 points accompanies the following words:
'A serious value, the 2011 Ventoux is a blend of equal parts Grenache and Syrah that was aged in a combination of stainless steel and concrete tank. Exhibiting plenty of spice, ground pepper, old leather and both red and black fruits on the nose, it flows onto the palate with loads of fruit and texture, no hard edges and excellent purity of fruit. Enjoy this balanced, delicious and character filled red over the coming 3-4 years.' BUY THIS WINE
The two prestige reds, L'Archange and Seraphin both received even better ratings (90 points apiece) so I am looking forward to sampling these on my next visit.
L'Archange: 'A step up (and more expensive), the 2011 Ventoux Archange is a beauty! Offering up gorgeous blackberry, currants, smoked meats and scorched earth like aromas and flavors, this expressive, pure and fruit loaded effort has a touch of modern flair, yet has loads of character and soul.'
Seraphin: 'Along the same lines, the 2011 Ventoux Seraphin is a classic, textbook Ventoux that offers massive spice, pine bough, cracked pepper and underbrush that’s ground by a core of sweet fruit. Medium to full-bodied, supple and beautifully textured, it finishes with chewy, savory tannin. I’m a fan, and it too should dish out loads of pleasure.'
Well done guys - about bloody time!