Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Party Time with Domaine Sainte Rose

I first purchased Domaine Sainte Rose on a visit to the property back in 2003 and still have a bottle of La Garrigue from Charles and Ruth Simpson's first vintage 2002. The wines aren't available in France, being destined to northern climes. In the UK (check out Majestic, Waitrose and online) the RQP is astonishing - they drink well but are not a quaff, are uncomplicated without being dull, plus work well with or without food. I was volunteered to source the wine for a family and friends bash and Domaine Sainte Rose was an easy choice. Being known as a bit of a wine buff meant high expectations in some quarters, but there were plenty of positive comments.

Le Vent du Nord is a blend of Chardonnay and Rousanne which combine to give some aromatic interest to a delicious citrus base. The warm spicy La Garrigue is Syrah with Grenache these days (all the wines were 2009) yet still retains the hints of outdoor wildness only those who have visited the region will fully relate to. Mourvèdre, once used in La Garrigue, goes into Les Derniers Cépages along with Bordeaux hard-man Petit Verdod, giving a wine with some delicious ripe tannins.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Mystery White DIV'IN

I was given this wine by a wine maker. All I know beyond its colour (white) comes from the label and, obviously only visibly on broaching, wording on the cork. In essence the label states: -

Vin de Table de France
Roxane Almanza et Loic Mathieu
Fontès 34320
13.5% L03.06

The cork has 2006 embossed on the top which may be confirming the year disguised in the code "L03.06". Also on the cork is an email address and, while encouragingly my enquiry hasn't bounced, so far I've had no reply.
Obviously these days information can be gleaned instantly from an internet search. What's extraordinary is that nothing at all wine related comes up for any of the words available. Everything about the wine and the makers avoids the www radar which effectively means a winery with zero marketing and publicity. My conclusion is a small production hobby wine reserved for friends and contacts.

Either way, with pushing 1,000 independent producers registered in the region this must be one of many hiding away.

Fontès is the village above Caux on the other side of the basalt lava flow. Vinously, Fontès is dominated by a successful cooperative perhaps best known for its popular, keenly priced and harmless rosé. A successful cooperative usually means relatively few independents as the vines are accounted for. Judging by the cooperative's new and attractive reception area dominance looks set to continue.

In the glass this ocra tinted wine has a particularly distinctive and individual bouquet - very aromatic and Mediterranean with pine and beeswax. In the mouth there are savoury herbs with a wonderful balancing acidity. Overall a substantial and well made wine that will no doubt divide opinions when it comes to personal taste. The empty glass test reveals an impressive lingering persistence. The dregs of the bottle had yeast lees which would certainly have magnified the flavours.

I've no idea what the cepage is, although it seems reminiscent of mature Rousanne so that's my guess. I will seek to find out more.