It must be a difficult old job to describe a wine using a number, but tasting this reminds me of those I’ve had which have been assigned numbers closer to 100 rather than 50. Consequently, I am surprised by how much I am enjoying drinking it.
As an aside, I do feel the ‘vin doux naturel’ designation is somewhat mendacious: what is natural about the sweetness if you have to add alcohol to get it?
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Banyuls ‘Cuvee Leon Parce’ 2006, Domaine de la Rectorie
This is an inky purple/black colour, not typically Banyuls off-brown. There is rather a lot of volatile acidity on the nose, but it seems like what a Turley Zinfandel drinker would consider maturity rather than the outlandish rancid aromas typified by Banyuls. Its fruit is currant-themed and hilariously ripe, is this really Grenache or the world’s ripest Cabernet? The alcohol level is indisputably nose-searing, lets call it buxom shall we? Even though it is quite over-blown, I’m surprised to find its set of aromas reasonably attractive. Cripes, the palate is characterised with over-ripe fruit, soupy tannins and a negligible amount of acidity. The sweetness this has comes from sugar rather than vastly excessive alcohol levels, but it still has hints of a ludicrously scaled Claret. That sugar is the redeeming feature which lifts this above spoofulated Bordeaux and makes it a fun dessert wine of acceptable style. I’m not totally sold, but it is reasonably nice. I can see how points-followers would think this was the bee’s knees.