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Thursday, 26 June 2014

Unkle at Meltdown 2014 with Côtes du Rhône Wines

Unkle at Meltdown 2104 with Côtes du Rhône

If last year's Iggy Pop concert was an object lesson in substance as a metaphor for Rhône wines, this year's Unkle gig at Meltdown was all about sophisticated complexity.

Many years ago, I had a friend who was, to be honest, rather cooler than me - he had the whole football-supporting, GQ-reading, sports-car thing going on; he knew his music and had an eclectic collection of obscure, indie CDs.

Too cool for school, he owned the first Unkle album - of which I had heard but knew very little.

Nearly 20 years later, I learn that Unkle didn't disappear after their debut, but quietly carried on making British trip-hop albums and it was from this extensive back catalog that they played at Meltdown 2014.

I say "they played", but it's not actually clear who Unkle are or what they do - the stage was variously populated by a a classic rock band of guitars, bass and drums along with - at various times - pianos, organ, string section, choir, percussionists and assorted vocalists.

Instead of the sheer energy - albeit somewhat corporate these days - of last year's Mr Osterberg, Unkle displayed a nuanced variety, complexity and depth that had the audience sitting in quiet appreciation rather than moshing in the aisles.

Before the gig, I tasted my way through a range of Côtes du Rhône wines - the whites went from crisp and precise to more textured and structured.

The basic reds were juicy and straightforward, but the more ambitious examples had a harmonious, substantial warm spiciness, whilst the best added a musky-truffley-feral character with complexity and poise.

The single rosé and sticky were both good enough to demonstrate the versatility of the region.

The Whites

CdR Ogier (FMV) 2013 - ripe fruit, touch of yeastiness, rounded, balanced with some persistence. Good entry-level white.

CdR Villages, Domaine Saint Amant, La Tabardonne, 2011 (Waitrose) richer, spicier and waxier; floral with more texture and complexity.

CdR Villages Laudun, Laudun Chluscan Vignerons, 2013 (Enotria) savoury, creamy brazil-nut, beeswax and lanolin. Fresh and waxy, good texture, persistent finish.

Crozes-Hermitage, Paul Jaboulet Aine, Mule Blanche, 2012 (Bibendum) toasty-musky orchard fruit, fresh with creamy oak, cashew and brazil-nut. All about the texture.

Saint-Joseph, Domaine Guy Farge, Vania 2012 (Enotria) rich, waxy, fresh, complex and precise. Harmonious and fully knitted together.

Saint-Joseph, M Chapoutier, Les Granilites, 2012 (Mentzendorff) rich, waxy, creamy and persistent with ripe orchard fruit.

The Reds

CdR, Ogier 2012 (FMV) sweet ripe dark fruit, well-balanced with good texture.

CdR Villages, Domaine des Chanssaud, 2011 (Mc Pherson Campbell & Vinohrad) warming and spicy, ripe dark fruit and cool mint; harmonious. Good.

CdR Villages Cairenne, Domaine de la Presidente, Galifay, 2011 (MV) feral, farmyardy nose, dense and concentrated with freshness and grip. Firmness on the finish, needs further aging. Very Good.

CdR Villages Plan de Dieu, Paul Jaboulet Aine, De pere en filles, 2009 (Bibendum) some brick redness, aged & slightly feral nose, Pinot-esque, soft texture with spice and firmness. Good.

Vacqueyras, Vidal-Fleury, 2011 (Louis Latour) harmonious and balanced with red fruits and sweet vanilla; good structure and firmness on the finish. Good.

Crozes-Hermitage, Cave de Tain, Haut du Fief, 2011 (Boutinot) ripe, oaky-spicy, velvety; substantial, good finish. Very Good.

Crozes-Hermitage, Delas Freres, Domaine des Grands Chemins, 2010 (Berkmann) cassis, dark fruit, cool mint and undergrowth, supple texture and firmness. Very Good.

Saint-Joseph, Cave de Tain, Esprit de Granit, 2011 (Boutinot) dark fruit, muskiness, minerality; fresh and poised with plumpness

Saint-Joseph, Cave Saint Desirat, Tradition, 2011 (Waitrose) ripe, dark, spicy with cool mint, supple texture, balanced.

Cornas Paul Jaboulet Aine, Les Grands Terrasses 2010 (Bibendum) undergrowth, musk and truffles, dark fruit, pepperiness and a supple texture - very assured. Very Good.

Hermitage, Cave de Tain, Classic, 2010 (Boutinot) complex dark fruit, animal musk and spice; red fruits, cool mint, firmness and spice. Dense with ripe tannins, it is lean, athletic and assertive. Very Good.


CdR, Famille Perrin, Reserve, 2013 rose (FMV) fresh, oatmealy-leesy with redcurrant fruit and lots of creamy texture. Good.

Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, Vidal-Fleury, 2012 (Louis Latour) orange blossom, sweet spice, musky beeswax with ripe orange marmalade and sweet peaches. Fresh acidity. Good.

Other related articles
Côtes du Rhône London Double Header
Côtes du Rhône Meltdown 2013 - Iggy Pop

Image credits
- James Lavelle: http://www.standard.co.uk/incoming/article9539704.ece/alternates/w620/rexfeatures_3825713m.jpg
- main image: http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/sites/default/files/imagecache/series_new_carousel/images/meltdown_carousel_image.jpg
- gig shot: http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/Xph1Z5L4E2M/0.jpg

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