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Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Domaine de La Sanglière, Cuvée Prestige Rouge, Côtes de Provence, 2008‏

When you think of Provence, if you think of wine at all (rather than, say, retired middle class Brits in smocks doing art courses), it's probably of rosé.

A southern land of long, lazy lunches, a slower pace of life and the scent of oleanders and lavender, favoured by writers and artists, Provence is not generally known for its seriousness - or for any serious claims to be a classic wine-making area, either.

The local grapes do not generally help matters - one of the main red / rosé varieties, Grenache, is a big blowsy Essex girl of a grape with lots of up-front personality, but not too much class or breeding.

Recently, that has all started to change; although vines were first introduced to Provence over 2,500 years ago, it is only since the 1970s that cultivation of poorer varieties has been reduced and new technologies and methods have improved the quality considerably.

Domaine de La Sanglière, a member of the Patrimoine des Terroirs association, based in the idyllically-named Bormes les Mimosas, traces its history back to just 1980 when Francois Devictor moved from Vaucluse to start a winery here. It is now run by his two sons (pictured right, enjoying the fruits of their labours) and enjoys a Mediterranean climate with marine breezes which moderate both the high temperatures of the summer and the lows of the winter; production is mainly - inevitably - rosé, but also reds and whites.

This Cuvée Prestige Rouge shows an interesting mixture of styles - part blowsy Grenache, it has some more serious Syrah and Cab in the blend and is made from vines almost 30 years old, with fermentation in steel and aging in oak, so that at each turn there are elements of seriousness alongside pure fun.

The result is a wine that seems undecided on whether to waltz, or kick off its shoes and dance round a handbag.

Dark in the glass, it has a rich Mediterranean nose of garrigue herbs, ripe bramble fruit, toasty oak, woodsy forest floor and vanilla.

Decanted initially and then sampled over a couple of evenings, the aromas vary - first strawberries, then coffee and finally some tarriness.

On the palate, it is mouthfilling and juicy-fruity, with a pleasantly baked character and more toasty oak; it is very smooth and moreish with soft tannins. The long finish is mouthwateringly juicy with a final hint of tannic grip.

It matches well with the classiness of a roast beef dinner, but is equally at home with a simple plate of salami and cheese.

€9.50 - provided for review


Domaine de La Sanglière - http://www.domaine-sangliere.com/

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

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