An opulent Fleurie, a ravishing Australian Pinot Noir and an undoubtedly spiffy Cotes-du-Rhone

Drinking with Chris, D&J 001

I have been rather taken with those 2009 Beaujolais I’ve tasted so expected good things from this Fleurie, which comes from my favourite climat in the Cru. For those of a classical bent this was definitely in the ‘priestess of Aphrodite at Sestos’-idiom, which is to say it was a hero[1].

Mac Forbes Pinot continues to enthuse me but the Coudoulet, gosh, that is a Cote-du-Rhone definitely made for the lover of properly constructed, seriously grown-up wines.

Fleurie la Roilette Vieilles Vignes 2009, Domaine Metrat & Fils

Fleurie la Roilette Vieilles Vignes 2009, Domaine Metrat & Fils

Cripes! This is charged with powerful, vivacious fruit aromas which are so intensely florid it requires acutely analytical sniffing to become aware of its slightly high alcohol level. This is not a light and fruity Beaujolais, it has definite old vines depth showing and, wow I’m surprised by the presence of this, sophisticated earthy richness. There is well-stacked charm to this nose but the fulsome character does not detract from its indubitable complexity and style. If I may be an asperser, it is let down, albeit very slightly, by that hint of an alcohol burn. The fruit is gorgeously lavish on the palate, totally tumescent with ambrosial allure. Not lacking in harmony, though, with its almost robust tannic composition and pleasing acid streak. I also approve of its earthiness. Fleurie is supposed to be easy drinking in an attractively fruity model but this is several rungs above that with its definite complexity and depth of personality. Hell’s bells, it might even be worth sticking in the cellar for up to five or six years, high praise indeed for a Fleurie. This is top totty Bojo and such good value for the minimal number of fun tokens it cost.

Pinot Noir Coldstream 2008, Mac Forbes

Pinot Noir Coldstream 2008, Mac Forbes

Also a giving, fruit-driven nose to this wine, but it is a far more of a small-scale entity of sculpted, intricate beauty. Maybe less overt but its complexity and outright class are apodictic – this delivers all the alluring, tantalizing goods one wants from Pinot at this price-point. The palate is a joyful expression of understated harmony. Nothing is done to excess – even though it is very fruity and distinctly mineral these characters do not over-whelm and the whole drinking experience is one of refreshing, quaffable delectation. Its tannins are svelte but pronounced[2] and with a finely-honed, distinctly lively acid thrill running right through it. I really go for its minimalist alcohol-level. There is just so much delight to this wine, whether you want to analyse it as a specific expression of a vineyard or just wallow in its pulchritudinous charm you will not feel the slightest bit disappointed. I’ll be drinking mine up over the next few years.

Cotes-du-Rhone 'Coudoulet de Beaucastel' 2005, Chateau de Beaucastel

Cotes-du-Rhone ‘Coudoulet de Beaucastel’ 2005, Chateau de Beaucastel

This is a wine that is not ashamed of its origins despite the long shadow its older-sibling casts. It may only be Cotes-du-Rhone but it has had attention lavished upon it in the vineyard and winery. Its high Mourvedre composition is clear from its distinct arsehole aroma and there is a sophisticated edge to its Grenache fleshiness. A complex, stylish nose that, like the Fleurie, only fails because of its slight alcoholic warmth (I’ll admit to being as picky sod about this). Those tannins on the palate are quite confident, this is a structured Cotes-du-Rhone all right, but such is the depth of fruit and its very powerful earthy character I’m not finding them unbalanced. There is a good dose of acidity here as well, which is to be strongly approved of in a warm-vintage Southern-Rhone wine. Good persistence of flavour, too. Yeah, this is an artfully constructed wine, but such are its qualities I will be happy to buy the odd bottle of this, especially now I think the senior Beaucastel wine goes for more than I am willing to pay for a Chateauneuf-du-Papes. This Coudoulet has at least five more years of cellaring potential in it and I think its ageing profile will be deeply accessible.

Am I allowed a personal aside? This is my website so I suppose I am. For those who don’t know, I have paranoid schizophrenia. I’ve been winning the battle against it in recent times, which requires constant cognitive application, but for some reason it has been quite a lot harder to stay on top over the past few days. Being able to relax with some enjoyable wines has provided a welcome distraction and acted as a general mood-enhancer. So should any medical type have a go at me for drinking and try to suggest wine is bad for me I can sincerely answer that it is good for me and I know this because I have tried it.

  1. [1] Feel free to correct my dusty knowledge of Greek mythology if I’ve got the wrong ‘Hero’
  2. [2] Say after me, “TANNIN!“. There, that is very pronounced tannin.

3 Comments

  • lance foyster wrote:

    We’ll all back your/our right to enjoy wine’s mood enhancing capabilities, David. We also know it’s not just the alcohol that performs this magical service.
    Could I put in a request for you to undertake some research for us on the world of low sulphur, “natural wines” (How dare they call them that!) I think your conclusions on some of them might make compelling reading.

  • David Strange wrote:

    Lance, we seem to be agreeing about more and more these days. The last time I read a description of what constitutes natural wine it was such a pile of snivellingly mendacious bollocks that I thought responding to the piece would be mocking the hard of thinking. Sure, don’t mess about too much when making wine, but ‘natural wine’? No.

  • Mac Forbes wrote:

    Gents,

    I have found what i think is the most sensible article on Natural wine to date. Please check this out.

    http://palatepress.com/2010/10/natural-wine-on-a-practical-note…/comment-page-1/#comment-6507

    Cheers,



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