I hate this wine

In a recent tasting note I said I bloody hate Grenache-based wines – they are normally too heavy, boozy and hard work. Given this, my excellent chum Lance Foyster, a wine merchant I’ve known for 20 years, decided to send me this bottle of 14.5% Grenache. I can only imagine he did this to continue the tradition of him giving me punishing tasting experiences, as he did when he was training the blind tasting team at Oxford. There cannot be any other reason, he would know I’d absolutely despise this wine and savage it as competently as I can after being incapacitated by its frightening booze quotient. I’ve had two tastes whilst I’ve been writing this paragraph and I already feel pissed as a fart.

Collioure can be good. I used to buy the Domaine du Mas Blanc ones quite regularly, but they were cheap and clocked in at around 13%. I don’t know how much this wine costs, presumably the aviation fuel the winemaker adds to it bumps up the price a bit, but there is no price I would pay at which this wine would satisfy me in any way. Indeed, even at the price of ‘free’ I’m vaguely irked that Lance had the temerity to send it to me. OK, that has been enough invective in this introductory preamble, let’s get to the appalling horror of analysing this by means of *shudder* tasting the stuff.

Coume del Mas Schistes 2011Collioure Schistes 2011, Coume del Mas

The nose repels me: it is an odd combination of cough candy twist boiled sweets, volatile acidity and pine-scented clumping cat litter of the type that Kisu the cat would rather avoid. Oh yes, there is one hell of a lot of alcohol as well. To deny this is incredibly ‘hot and sweet’ would be as big a duplicitous act as claiming Ed Milliband was ‘charming with integrity’. I said aviation fuel in above, but presumably aviation fuel from some experimental, hyper-sonic, scram-jet vehicle. If I look at my glass with too hard a stare it will ignite, and the whole beast of a nose makes me not want to look at it ever again. Is there a hint of celery there as well? By arse, I hate celery. The palate just tips over the wrong side of the extraction boundary to ‘over’ and it has one of the most repulsive textures of any wine I’ve had in a period of time. It’s bitter, acrid, harsh and utterly devoid of features that would make anyone say they’d fancy drinking a charming bottle of this with their luncheon this afternoon. Indeed, it’s so fabulously lacking charm we could be back to making unfavourable comparisons with Ed Milliband again. The booze level is fiery and reminds me of the time an Alaskan forester defiled some de Montille Burgundy I opened by pouring Everclear (70% booze) into his glass because he “wouldn’t get hammered on this dishwater”. The bastard. I took my bottle elsewhere. And that is what I am going to do with this, I shall take it to The Editor (who charitably claims “even though I hate it, it’s not entirely badly made”; to be fair his comments on the winemaker’s aesthetic ideals are spot on) and let him see if he fancies getting ripped to the tits on firewater Collioure. I’m not going to finish my glass.

Please, Lance, never make me taste this again – it just makes me unhappy.


37 Comments

  • Alex Lake on Facebook wrote:

    There’s one for the C-F website…

  • Sean Hardon on Facebook wrote:

    I brought a load of this back from the Roussillon last year David. Went for a tasting with Jonathan Hesford down to the winery, hosted by Andy Cook. I thoroughly enjoyed the wines. Particularly their white blend. Unfortunately, never been able to taste any of those bought, as well you know the reason why David.

  • Sean Hardon on Facebook wrote:

    Oh they have a Mourvedre called the Dog Strangler, you won’t like that either :). You should really twist Leon Stolarski arm and get him to send you down on of Domaine Treloar’s wines. I think you’ll like those. Jonathan Hesford picks for freshness and acidity and the yields are bwtween 26 – 30 hl/ha.

  • Jonathan Hesford on Facebook wrote:

    But get him to blank out the alc levels so as not to prejudice you :)

  • Steph Lunn wrote:

    It sounds like you were looking forward to hating it, and then hated it! I’ve had this wine plenty of times (including this vintage) several times and loved it. Celery and cat litter? You’ve got to be kidding me! Not for the faint hearted, sure, and I wouldn’t have a 14.5% wine with an afternoon luncheon either (common sense?) This is strictly for a hearty evening meal, with friends, and it knocks my socks off everytime (in a good way). I agree that the whites are great too.

  • Peter wrote:

    Good to see you on such ranting form, David. You should drink grenache more often, as it evidently inspires you.

  • Alex Lake on Facebook wrote:

    I have shown a Treloar wine to David before (with Peter Sidebottom). I think I got the impression of “Not totally disgusting if you like that kind of thing, which I don’t really” ;-)

  • Davy Strange on Facebook wrote:

    Pretty much, Alex :)

  • Alex Lake on Facebook wrote:

    So pretty positive, really.

  • Davy Strange on Facebook wrote:

    That was pretty much The Editor’s view of the Shitste Collioure; I despise that kind of thing so much I found it repulsive. Yes, I certainly expected to hate it, but I don’t relish drinking things that disgust me. Indeed, drinking my half glass of that wine totally dispersed my morning’s good mood and left me in a miasma of unhappiness – what else could I do but abuse it when it abused my aesthetic sensibilities so much?

  • Jonathan Hesford on Facebook wrote:

    Which was it. Not Motus surely?

  • Alex Lake on Facebook wrote:

    Probably Tahi 2006

  • Jonathan Hesford on Facebook wrote:

    I’ve been looking through Davy’s blog. Seems like Rectorie and Mas Blanc are the only wines he likes from the Roussillon. Would that be fair comment?

  • Davy Strange on Facebook wrote:

    I cannot think of any others offhand, but I don’t drink much from there. Burgundy, Northern Rhone are where I can usually be found having a crafty glass full.

  • Sean Hardon on Facebook wrote:

    If he didnt like the Tahi, he’d hate the Motus :) . Mind you I would wonder about his state of mind if he liked Rectorie so anything goes I suppose ;). Think he’d like and 06 or 07 OBG though.

  • Alex Lake on Facebook wrote:

    Maybe he’d go for something like MO2?!

  • Alex Lake on Facebook wrote:

    (“He”‘s not here, is he? ;-) )

  • Davy Strange on Facebook wrote:

    I have a friend who loves Montus and often gives it to me blind. I never fail to get it right as it is almost uniquely charmless, tough and miserable. I fail to understand how people can get pleasure from wines like Montus unless they have some kind of punishment/self loathing thing going on.

  • Sean Hardon on Facebook wrote:

    That sounds like the pot calling the kettle black. Of all of Jonathans wines it is considered the connoisseurs wine. I take it you never got on with Brettcastel David.

  • Alex Lake on Facebook wrote:

    Wow, I’ve never before twigged the Motus/Montus similarity!

  • Sean Hardon on Facebook wrote:

    Oh gawk Montus, I’m x 2 on that. Hideous stuff.

  • Davy Strange on Facebook wrote:

    Ah Sean, whilst my life is not always pain free, my relationship with wine is all about love, sensuality and extraordinary pleasure. That is why sometimes when I’m feeling really bonkers I, quite insanely, think I don’t deserve the great joy that is wine.
    I used to drink Beaucastel an awful lot, really incredibly regularly as I had a stash of 81, 85 and 88 I got from an Oxford college cellar for almost no cash. I followed it until 2005 which was when my tolerance for brett/money I’m willing to pay ratio made me stop buying it. I taste it in some trade tastings and it seems to have cleaned up a bit, but to pricy for what I enjoy.

  • Davy Strange on Facebook wrote:

    Oh, I thought that was a typo. No awareness of motus I’m afraid – even though I make a damned good go of it I cannot taste *everything* ;)

  • Lance wrote:

    Delighted to see you coming in off the long run, David. I feared I was putting my head in the cage sending you this but I had no intention of making you unhappy with it. No long term harm done, I hope .

  • Sean Hardon on Facebook wrote:

    Never had a good bottle of 81. You know I am x 2 on the love of wine. Just a little more open minded about it. Careful now dear heart or I shall bring my 99 mag of Musarvto your 40th and not the CDB Corton Bressandes 95.

  • Lance wrote:

    Just for the record I think this is a really good wine ( and Clark Foyster Wines are the importers ).

  • David Strange wrote:

    I linked to your website, Lance, don’t worry.

    I fully understand that you were not trying to make me unhappy, rather get a spume of invective as a tasting note. However, good wine, really good wine, does it for me in a really mind expanding manner that can so illuminate my life that even things as important as doing what The Editor tells me without question are just erased from my mind. I have a carefully informed stylistic ideal that brings me to rapture and that explosion of ecstasy is what I want.

    When a wine it utterly removed from my preferred aesthetic, my disappointment at not getting my quality buzz can develop into profound unhappiness and the nasty Davy, who says unnecessarily offensive things about people far more successful and popular than I’ll ever be, raises his floridly abusive head. Indeed, ignoring times of major insanity I think I’m at my most articulate when I’m incredibly unhappy or let down. I’m great in restaurants when they serve me a shit meal!

    However, I am a fundamentally happy person. So after I rejected my remaining Collioure, went to lie down only to have the cat come and sit on me and start honking like a goose; my cheery disposition soon returned. So no harm done!

    Even though it did bring lurid invective to my keyboard it was still very kind of you to send me the wine – it’s good to keep one’s palate exercised with a degree of variety. Next time can you send that freaking quadruple-A Echezeaux from Confused-Genderbender that was so good at your Burgundy tasting, please? I don’t drink enough Echezeaux and that would be just the practise I need to keep me up to scratch!

  • Ed Tully wrote:

    I like Ed Milliband!

  • Peter wrote:

    Oh yeah, of course, Ed, as you say, you’re a Socialist (an extreme example of the Champagne Socialist type).

  • Ed Tully wrote:

    The more decadent I am the sooner the revolution will come. It is my socialist duty to consume in order to provoke the lumpen.

  • Peter wrote:

    Raise a glass to us revolutionaries!

  • Ed Tully wrote:

    Oh I will. Perhaps some cristal? It has pleasing Russian connotations.

  • G wrote:

    Anyone who would start a commentary with your first line is to be ignored, which I will do now. Further you are an obvious fool to make such a statement.

  • David Strange wrote:

    What a rude man you are, G. But I do feel for you in that your parents only gave you a letter as a name…

  • Humberto Dorta wrote:

    Love the note. David, you would hate 90% of what is in my cellar, though you might like my riesling inventory and the Burgs I buy to experiment with ;)
    PS Everclear is 95% alcohol. Thats right, 190 proof. :)

  • David Strange wrote:

    Ah life would be boring if we’d all liked the same stuff, Humberto, so I hope you enjoy that 90% of your cellar. I’ll pop around later this evening for some Riesling, if you have no other plans…

  • Tom Blach wrote:

    I expect I would enjoy this wine just as little as you, David,though I would probably blame myself. i do expect great things of Miliband minor, however. We need to be governed by Jewish intellectuals from Hampstead, it is the way things should be.



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