This is a delicious Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a region whose wines I taste infrequently. From the 2015 vintage, the Clefs des Papes has aromas of savoury plums, stones and smoke. The palate has great length and is moreish. This is a great value CNP that is ready to drink now. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $50. Website: n/a.
This is another excellent grenache from d’Arenberg in McLaren Vale. Deeply coloured (for grenache), the 2014 vintage has savoury aromas of chocolate, liquorice and cherry. The palate is full bodied with well integrated ripe fruit and cedar characters, and very good length on the finish. Ready to drink now, this is a very good example of McLaren Vale grenache and a well priced one too, at sub $30. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $29. Website: www.darenberg.com.au. Source: Sample.
The 2016 vintage of d’Arenberg’s “The Bonsai” GSM is a blend of 48% grenache, 47% shiraz and 5% mourvèdre. It is quite reticent in its aroma, with some red berry characters. The palate is baked and full bodied in impression, with sweet and savoury edges and somewhat prominent acidity. Ready to drink now, this is sound drinking. Rating: Acceptable to Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $29. Website: www.darenberg.com.au. Source: Sample.
|Image courtesy of d’Arenberg|
d’Arenberg’s “The Ironstone Pressings” continues its form as a benchmark McLaren Vale GSM. A blend of 70% grenache, 25% shiraz and 5% mourvèdre, the 2016 vintage is savoury and earthy, but with ripe and full flavoured fruit underneath. The palate is full bodied, viscous and has quite firm but ripe tannins and long length on the finish. This wine can be approached now or over the next decade. Rating: Outstanding. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $75. Website: www.darenberg.com.au. Source: Sample.
Here are two sound releases from M. Chapoutier, both from the 2016 vintage. Luberon sits between the southern Rhône valley and Provence, whilst Crozes-Hermitage is in the northern Rhône and quite different in style. The 2016 vintage appears sound in the northern Rhône and a great vintage in the southern Rhône. I find Jancis Robinson’s website useful for vintage reports, although they can be on the tough side. See here www.jancisrobinson.com/learn/vintages.
Luberon Les Incontournables 2016
This is pretty good for $14. A grenache blend, it has fruity aromatics and an intensity that could place this wine as from Australia. There’s sweet fruit, herbs and chocolate by way of aroma. The palate is full bodied, with good length and a hot finish. Rating: Good. Abv: 14%. Price: $14. Website: www.chapoutier.com.
Crozes-Hermitage Les Incontournables 2016
This is quite a lovely Crozes-Hermitage release. Less deeply coloured than the Luberon, it has fragrant aromatics of perfume, roses, florals and apricot. The palate is quite primary with some jammy fruit and approachable tannins. This wine is ready to drink now. Rating: Good. Abv: 13%. Price: $28. Website: www.chapoutier.com.
The number and variety of Provençal rosés available in Australia seems to be increasing. This is the best I have tried recently. A blend of cinsault, grenache, syrah and merlot, it is from the Méditérranée IGP region, which includes the Provence wine region in southern France. The label was founded by some serious names, the founder of Domaine Dujac and Aubert de Villaine. In the glass, the wine has salt, mineral and floral overtones. The palate has good and refreshing acidity. This wine is recommended. Rating: Good. Abv: 12.5%. Price: $20. Website: www.triennes.com.
This Provençal rose (from the Alpes de Haute Provence IGP in France) is so pale it almost resembles a white wine in colour. Grape varieties are not specified. However, this region is known for grenache, syrah and cinsault blends, so this is presumed. Its aromatics remind of gentle florals. The palate is flavoursome with nectarine notes and fresh acidity. A pleasant rose for immediate consumption. Rating: Good. Abv: 13%. Price: $20+.