I had asked Sue, who has stopped imbibing to recover from a virus, what wines she didn’t particularly care for that I could broach. A rummage through our stocks, many of which are going to need consuming over the next year or so, turned up Domaine Les Aurelles 2001 Solen. I recall this came from a mixed sampler case of the Domaine bought some years ago and is, along with a magnum and bottle of the Aurel cuvee, all that remains.
A blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Carignan from the fine 2001 vintage, grown just north of Pezeans and made without oak, certainly reads well on paper. The colour was a healthy dull garnet red. The smell a little dusty and hints of marinated cherry and spice needed to be coaxed out. The taste was more revealing – leather, black olives, rosemary oils. The next day I continued with the second half of the bottle. The nose had all but gone, although this was partly compensated for by more warm spice and richness on the palate.
From memory, this is the house style of Domaine Les Aurelles – quite serious and better suited to drinking with food. Bottle age doesn’t seem to have helped either way. Certainly decent wine, but we prefer reds that are suppler with edgy layers and a better balance between smell and taste. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how the Aurel (Mourvèdre, Syrah and Grenache) fairs, but the magnum may have quite a wait.