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Monday, 24 January 2011

Côtes du Rhône Village Visan, La Guintrandy 2009


The Rhône is really two neighbouring sub-regions - the North, home to a small number of rarefied vineyards which are the historic origins of Syrah and Viognier, and the South which is a more cosmopolitan mixture of heady, southern varieties producing wines with hedonistic baked aromas of plums, prunes and figs.

The basic appellation here is Côtes du Rhône AOC (with or without a village name appended). This Côtes du Rhône Village Visan "Le Devès" is from domaine La Guintrandy which has been a family estate since 1850 and is now run by fifth and sixth generation owner-winegrowers, Marie-Claude and Olivier Cuilleras.

La Guintrandy, situated in the Le Devès area of Visan, is a member of the Patrimoine des Terroirs association of independent winemakers (I reviewed a couple of Burgundies from them last year) and follows the group's ethical, quality-led and terroir-driven approach; the wine is made from vines between 20 and 30 years old, with manual harvesting, long maceration, no filtration and low sulphur content.

There is vanilla, some dark berry fruit and woodsy undergrowth on what is quite a restrained nose. The palate shows typical Grenache aromas of plums and prunes, slightly baked in character but certainly not jammy, ripe berry fruit and a mouthfilling texture with smooth, well-integrated tannins. The finish is pleasantly savoury and fresh, with a balanced sour rasp and tannic grip.

Despite the almost New World alcohol level (14%), the sweetness is restrained and the acidity proves refreshing.

It impresses not so much by any complexity of aromas (although these are likely to develop over time given its relative youth and aging potential), but by the depth, intensity and richness of the both flavour and texture, as well as by the length.

It is approachable enough to drink by itself, but benefits from matching with food; we had it with beef wellington, the tannins softened by the meat whilst the acidity cut though the rich pastry.

It has a silver medal from Macon 2009.

Provided for review.

Links

La Guintrandy - http://www.vins-cuilleras.com/wine-domaine.htm

Patrimoine des Terroirs - http://patrimoinevin.canalblog.com/

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