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Friday 11 February 2011

Côtes du Rhône Village Visan Veilles Vignes, Domaine La Guintrandy 2009

This is the second of three wines from La Guintrandy from the village of Visan in the southern Rhône - I was impressed with the entry-level Le Devès (reviewed here), but this is a rather more serious wine.

Made from low-yielding old vines aged between 30 and 50 years old, it is 90% Grenache with small amounts of two other southern red grapes, Carignan and the more noble Syrah.

The Guintrandy vineyard
The grapes for this wine are grown in the warmest part of the Le Devès area of Visan and, after a long maceration, the wine is aged completely in oak and is bottled unfiltered.

The end result is a whopping 15%; just pouring it into the decanter, I can already smell the rich nose of bramble fruit, prunes, tobacco, spice and vanillary oak. It's a heady combination - there's more of the same when sniffed from the glass but the palate is initially more dense and subdued. It's a big wine, but in a concentrated, old-world way without being too overcooked or perfumey.

With a bit more time, it opens up in the glass and shows more of the same rich cooked fruit, a sharp, sour-cherry acidity, some hints of truffley, woodsy undergrowth and pleasingly firm tannic grip on the finish.

It clearly has serious aging potential; with the bottle re-stoppered and sampled four days later it's still as intense as ever - more woodsy vanilla spice on the nose with a slap of leather and hints of coffee and menthol. On the palate, there's some sweet dark cherry fruit, pepperiness and spice and still plenty of grippy finish.

This is definitely a wine to lay down for a while to see it at its best, whereas the earlier Le Devès is drinking nicely now. There's also a strong sense of terroir here; Grenache usually makes big wines with perfume and richness, but little sense of restraint. By contrast, these old vines at altitudes of up to 230m have produced something much more focused and intense.

Like all the Patrimoine des Terroirs wines I have had so far, it is rounded enough to be drunk alone, but seems designed to go better with food and we found this matched well with simple roast lamb, seasoned with garlic and rosemary.


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

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


  1. Your comment about the older high-altitude vines creating a more focused and more intense concentration in the wine is astute.

    I find this a lot (and thank you for the words to describe this) in spots in Rioja and Galicia and especially in Ribeira Sacra.

  2. Thanks Arnold - to my mind, elevation is a key factor in terroir, it's so much more than just a U2 song ;)

    Seriously tho', for the effects of elevation, look at Chile / Argentine, Styria / Slovenia and even Greece.

    Cheers, Tom