Oh my. I am woefully behind on serious blogging. I blame IT problems, work, travel and oh, you don't care... But I recently re-read an old blog and have to admit to being a tiny but disappointed that I no longer write such cool stuff! Perhaps all bloggers suffer this way?
Anyway my existential angst was somewhat eased (rather unusually for me) by 2 French wines.
French wine number 1:
La Balade Minervois by Aurelie Vic at Domaine Peignes le Vieux
Raved about at a tasting I worked at last week, I hadn't been able to taste it at the event. I could not wait to get my hands on a sample. Minervois was one of the first French wines that I fell in love with. Some million years ago, at a dinner in Switzerland, my French boss was despatched by my American colleague and myself to buy crates of the stuff direct from the vineyard.
So, I've tried many in the UK seeking to find The One that would recapture that joy, but with minimal success. Sooner or later, even with the decent ones, vintage changes have let me down.
Back to La Balade. It recalls that amazing moment of "I must get my hands on more of this wine".
Luckily that should be easier than my last Minervois obsession. I believe it will be available through Wine Cellar Club by the end of the month. (Price tbc).
La Balade is like a stroll down memory lane, recalling summers of ripe, jammy blackberries in abundance. Almost sweet, but not sickly or jammy in the way some over-extracted new world wines can be, there's also a tart Raspberry acidity and some beguiling spices.
A wine made by a woman, and perhaps for women, it's elegant medium body isn't overpowering. There's something of the little black dress about this wine. It will win admirers wherever it goes.
This is a cut above some simple Languedoc wines, with the herby notes of "la garrigue" coming through as part of the long finish. The blackberry flavour goes on.
This is going to fly off the shelves. You heard it here first.
French Wine number 2:
Le Clos des Cazaux Prestige 2012 Gigondas is quite a different wine. From the southern Rhône appelation some say rivals Chateauneuf du Pape, I can't say when (or if) this 14.5% abv stonker will be on UK shelves, but I sincerely hope it's soon. Mr Purple Teeth will be terribly sorry to have missed this one, while he's travelling in Canada.
From a family estate like the Minervois, and also sustainably grown, this is also a true "terroir" wine. A GSM blend, it's here the similarities end.
If La Balade is a little black dress, the Gigondas is a black velvet cloak, enrobing a silk evening gown. It's a wine for a special moment, and it's one the boys will love. On the nose, there's a powerful herbal note, an aged character that implies excellent oak integration and screaming dark fruit.
It begs you to take a sip, and as if it were a seductive siren, you're at risk of being dashed on the rocks, as one sip will never be enough.
There is something intense here. As La Balade demands to be enjoyed with friends, our Cazaux almost invites selfishness. You want to immerse yourself in its silky black fruits, liquorice and nutmeg. You don't want to talk about it. You just want to succumb to the obsession.
So that's what I'm going to do now, as I immerse myself in a second glass, and send a prayer up to Bacchus that this wine will be available in the UK very soon.
(Composed, edited & published entirely on iPhone while enjoying the wine - I take full responsibility for errors)