40% Garnatxa, 40% Syrah and 20% Carinyena. Catalan names but close enough that you can work it out? Very ripe, dry grape skins but a glorious freshness. Cherries and raspberries ripened under a hot sun without losing their juicy tang are counterweights to an extraordinary perfume of warm slate and dry scrub. Savoury caramelised pan juices too. Acid etched rocky tannin sweeps clean. So this is what Priorat can do when it’s not over cooked or oaked? Dense fruit and a refreshing austerity. Oh Billo.
14% alcohol. Cork. $45.
Opened with a little trepidation as it approaches its ninth birthday, only to be surprised by a still vigorous red colour and a satisfying freshness. 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah with perhaps a touch of oak barrel, this looks more like a CNdP than a CdR. Really lovely soft kirsch and chocolate fruit, only a hint of scrubby herb and well melded tannin and acid. A little judicious pepper seasoning. Very much a polished version of a rustic Rhône but no less delicious for the haircut and a bit of education. No superfluous bling, just well brought up sense of place. Very happy to have a few more.
14% alcohol. Cork. Can’t remember exactly how much but a ludicrous bargain in the wholesaler’s annual clearance sale. Wish they still did them!
93 points but especially a good thing.
Appropriate bottle for Easter. Bright raspberry, cherry and spice with a touch of seasonal chocolate. Nice mid weight balance and some length carried on acidity and tannin which are tucked comfortably into the generous fruit. Cooler year freshness has kept this tidy perhaps? Not much Barossa coal dust or leather, more pure gentle ripeness. This makes a formidable argument for the benefit of blending those Rhône companions. Probably not a good match for sweet choccy eggs though.
14% alcohol. Diam, which looks like it did good. Thanks for sharing!
A blend of half Grenache and half Syrah from a brilliant Rhone vintage which, as Jancis so astutely noted, produced some great Syrah. Opens with some briar and spice from short bottle age and perhaps a bit of oak. Over three days this savoury edge gave way to lots of clean, dark cherry and plum conserve. Not really jammy but more like a fresher cooked fruit flavour. The spice mellowed into Rhône herbiness and fine allspice with some dark cocoa powder. The quality of the vintage is pretty obvious. Good to see a relatively large producer make something that’s typically Rhône whilst keeping it clean and screwcapped. Good game of Rhônes, sorry, over done pun already.
14% alcohol. Screwcap, hooray! $20, bargain.
From the family responsible for the hallowed Mas de Daumas Gassac’s grand vin comes this grand value. A Murphy’s direct import. Lip smackingly fresh, clean and delicious. Clear red fruit, some Languedoc herbiness and good acidity in harmony. Little bit dilute towards the end but it’s candid in its honest good fruit and not artificed by over extraction. The quality of good skin tannin and ripe acidity pull it through. Just as good the second day. Lovely label too that would look good on hobbit’s dinner table, my precious.
12.50% alcohol. Screwcap. $10.
89 points for a tenner!
60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 20% Carignan. All done in concrete it seems and all the better to avoid any dirty or specious oak flavours which find no favour around here. Dark and self contained at first but musky violets and very ripe raspberry smells eventually emerge. Rich and full mouthful of wild but clean berries. Solid tannin but with some melting chocolate softness to help it along. The fruit’s just lovely and evenly ripe, perhaps it’s the level of care and hard work organic farming demands? Reckon this will be extra delicious in another year or two. Chapeau to the patient bloke who runs the wine stall at the 10th’s Marché St. Martin. Impeccable selections so far.
14.50% alcohol. Cork. 11.50 euros.
A favourite caviste in Paris, Les Caves du Marais, run by the irrepressible Jean Jacques Bailly, is described by Paris by Mouth as the sort of place you always thought should exist but rarely does. Yet to be disappointed when asking for a coup de coeur. This Languedoc blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan is spectacularly rich, firm and at its powerful core deeply fruited. Dark squishy cherries and blackberries abound with earthy road tar, woody herbs, dried figs and scents of an old carbon black fireplace. The exuberance is nailed securely in place by dense wall of ripe tannin and acid that really brings the fruit to life with food. Sort of daunting without in that almost Italian way maybe. Wild but beautifully clean. The winery website shows just how carefully its beautiful old vineyards are tended. Forgotten no more.
14% alcohol. Cork. 24 euros.