Sunday, 28 June 2015

Xavier Vignon, Cotes du Rhone 'SM'


This is a blend of 50% Grenache from the Southern Rhone (Meridionale) and 50% Syrah from the North (Septionale) - it is the French names for the two regions that give their initials to the name of this wine (and not, as I originally wondered, Syrah and Mourvedre). Xavier has learnt to be coy about his sources - the previous incarnation of this wine, Sacrilege, landed him in all sorts of trouble when Parker reviewed it and announced to anyone who cared to know that this was a blend of Cote Rotie Syrah and Chateauneuf Grenache. 'So what?' you might ask. Well, for some reason known only to themselves, the appellation authorities in Chateauneuf-du-Pape do not allow their Grenache to be down-graded so, if you don't want to market your wine as Chateauneuf-du-Pape then mere Vin de France it must be. Not do in other appellations it seems (since this new blend is designated as Cotes du Rhone). I did suggest to Xavier that if he sourced the Grenache from Gigondas, for example, he could avoid the problem and it would appear that he has done just that. However, it is still a non-vintage wine - a blend of wines from 2010, 2011 and 2012 - so clearly he hasn't lost his sense of humour.

So, eventually I pull the cork open the bottle. This has a rich nose and it's very full. Some sweetness is coming though and I would like to see this in another couple of years when everything else has had a chance to come up behind it. As it is, this is more like a young Chateauneuf than, well, most young Chateauneuf.

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