Saturday, October 16, 2010

Austin Wine Merchant Tasting - Red Wines from the South of France

Austin Wine Merchant always has fantastic wine tastings on Saturdays from 12pm - 3pm. Today's event featured five reds from the South of France, all of which contain Grenache and Syrah. Four of these wines are from Robert Kacher Selections, and one is from Vintage 59.

Mas de Guiot 2009, Vin de Pays du Gard is a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache and retails for $8.95/bottle at AWM.

Robert Kacher Selections provides great info about this wine, which is from the Costières de Nîmes region and is grown and made by Sylvia and François Cornut. The vineyards are farmed naturally and sustainably, and the fruit is picked late. The fermentation takes place in stainless tanks.

Aroma - red fruit, acid (surprisingly! I think this indicates a freshness to the wine that I don't seem to sense in most aged in barrels)
Taste - red fruit, tobacco, soft to moderate tannins, very slightly reminiscent of beer (hops or yeast?)

This wine was good, except that I didn't prefer that very slight beer flavor at the end. Perhaps under different conditions it would be better, because I liked everything else about it. A great buy for the price!

Mas des Bressades Cuvée Tradition 2009, AOC Costières de Nîmes is an equal blend of Syrah and Grenache (according to the importer, Robert Kacher Selections), or 55% Syrah and 45% Grenache (according to the winemaker, Cyril Marès). It retails for $11.25/bottle at AWM.

Mas des Bressades is considered to be one of the top estates in Costières de Nîmes. This wine is fermented in stainless and aged in concrete tanks.

Aroma - dark fruit, black olives? (a teeny-tiny bit salty)
Taste - dark fruit, moderate tannins, acidic

I really liked this wine!

Domaine Sainte-Eugénie 2007 Corbières is a blend of 40% Carignan, 30% Grenache, and 30% Syrah, and is from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. It retails for $9.99/bottle at AWM. The wine is produced by Gantier, Ratero and Brignoli from free-run juice, and is fermented and aged in barrels and casks.

Aroma - strawberries and cherries
Taste - fruit and wood, moderate tannins, light sweet tobacco

I wondered why I tasted so much wood in this wine, and after doing some research and discovering the way the wine is fermented and aged, it's no wonder. And, having just tasted two wines fermented and aged in stainless and/or concrete tanks, the wood was especially noticeable.

This was not my favorite wine of the tasting, but it was fairly good and I did like it. I need to try it again without having it sandwiched between non-oaked wines. Sometimes a little oak is just fine!

Château Coupe Roses La Bastide 2008, Minervois is a blend of equal amounts Carignan and Grenache, and about 5% Syrah, and it retails for $13.75/bottle at AWM. It is made naturally without additives, and élevage takes place in tanks. This is the only wine at this tasting that is not imported by Rober Kacher Selections - its importer is Vintage '59. Château Coupe Roses is the domaine of husband and wife team Françoise Le Calvez and Pascal Frissant.

Aroma - bright red fruit, cotton candy (one of the AWM staff says light spice and lavendar, too)
Taste - bright red fruit, moderate to strong tannins, fresh!

I really like this wine, and will definitely be trying it again!

Mas Lavail Tradition 2008, Côtes du Roussillon is a blend of 40% Carignan, 40% Syrah, and 20% Grenache from the Languedoc-Roussillon region, and retails for $13.75 at AWM. Not much info about the production of the wine itself except that it is hand-harvested and aged in vats. Another Robert Kacher Selection, this wine is made by Nicolas Batlle (pronounced "buy") and cousin Lionel Lavail.

Aroma - the darkest black fruit, spice, very aromatic
Taste - black fruit, tobacco, strong tannins, big and fruity, full-bodied

A lot of people will like this wine, especially those that enjoy big reds from Napa and Sonoma. It's a fine wine, but my tastes are leaning towards those that taste a little fresher and not so fruit forward.

Overall an excellent tasting at AWM!

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