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Domaine de Cristia

A busy morning! I have known Dominique and Baptiste Grangeon for several years now so there is always much to catch up on. Baptiste was heading off to Paris so most of the time, Dominique and I chatted whilst tasting the new vintages.

To start, a new wine from the Cristia Collection, a 2011 Grenache Blanc to partner the red vin de pays. Decent nose, medium-bodied and length with good fruit. 13% ABV. Bottled 02/03.

Next another new wine, this time from the Cristia range (neither Domaine de Cristia nor Cristia Collection but somewhere in between, I think - slightly confusing! I do know the vines are not part of the family's estate), a 2012 Cotes du Rhone Blanc from 30% each Grenache, Roussanne and Clairette with the balance Viognier and Marsanne. 13% ABV and full Ecocert status for this wine. Complex nose follows through to a soft palate. Bottled 02/03.

The last of the whites is from the domaine, a 2012 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc made with 40% each Roussanne and Clairette and 20% Bourboulenc. This has a soft nose, a fairly full palate and is well balanced. I discovered that this wine does not carry the Ecocert label as, from 2012, the wine itself must be organic, not simply made from organically grown grapes. This means that if any treatments used in the winery are not on the approved list, the wine cannot be certified in that vintage. The team at Cristia did not discover this until too late for the 2012 white! Bottled 02/03.

The first red, as expected, was the 2012 Grenache, the organic VDP entry-level wine to the estate's production. A rich nose is followed by a youthful palate, slightly lighter than expected. Perhaps a little closed or reductive? It will flesh out well given a couple of months. Bottled 08/03. I had the impression that sales of the excellent VDP Vieilles Vignes have not been as good as they had hoped and that, in future, as they will also have organic certification, these grapes will be blended in with the regular Grenache.

The 2012 Cotes du Rhone is probably the best vintage of this wine I have encountered. Pure Grenache, from 30-40 year old vines, it has a slightly animal nose reminiscent of old school Cairanne. A good, pure palate and moderate tannins. 14% ABV, Ecocert. Bottled January 2013.

I was less struck by the 2012 CDR Villages from 80% Grenache, the balance Syrah. Some oak comes through (from the Syrah'e elevation) but I felt the two grapes were not well integrated at this time. This 14.5% ABV wine is not organic as the 7 hectares of the vineyard it is produced from are under fermage from this vintage.

The 2011 Cotes du Rhone "Garrigues" Vieilles Vignes is pure Grenache again. Less oak than in previous vintages too which is an improvement for me. A lovely rich nose follows through well with some good fruit. Not overblown, this is a medium-full wine in body and in flavour. Dominique tells me this is from real Chateauneuf terroir (red clay). It hides its 15% ABV well.

Only one Chateauneuf this year,the 65% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre 2011 Chateauneuf-du-Pape has a good, modern nose - not too much and not at all baked. Liquorice and rich fruit dominate this wine which has good freshness and a pleasingly light touch. The tannins are in check too. Probably one to drink over the next 5-10 years whilst waiting for the 2010s.

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