Home
Page
Geoff Kelly Wine Reviews
independent
analytical
non-commercial
Independent reviews of some local and imported wines available in New Zealand, including earlier vintages.
TWO WHITES,  SUNNY RHONES AND AFFORDABLE 2005 BORDEAUX FROM PAUL MITCHELL / THE WINE IMPORTER



Paul Mitchell (www.wineimporter.co.nz) presented his last free Wellington tasting for 2010 in mid-November.  It included a dozen or so wines,  in Turnbull House,  Bowen St.  They again illustrated his style well (introduction in the batch for 30 Oct 2010).  One wine will be included in some bubblies a little later.





LAYOUT AND THE WINES REVIEWED:

White
Sparkling
Chardonnay
2007  Domaine Corsin Saint-Veran Tirage Precoce [ = Unoaked ]
Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and related blends
Riesling
Pinot Gris
Gewurztraminer
Viognier
Sweet / Sticky
All other white wines, blends, etc.
2006  Ch Gaudrelle Vouvray Sec
Red
Rosé
Cabernet, Merlot, and related blends
2005  Ch Lucas
  2005  Ch Machorre Bordeaux Superieur
2005  Ch Respide
2005  Ch Sainte Colombe
Cabernet / Shiraz
Pinot Noir
Syrah = Shiraz
Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre & related blends
2009  Domaine Les Aphillanthes Cotes du Rhone
2009  Domaine Les Aphillanthes Cotes du Rhone-Villages Cuvée des Galets
2008  Ch St Cosme Cotes du Rhone-Villages les Deux Albion
2009  Domaine Vindemio Cotes du Ventoux Amadeus
2009  Domaine Vindemio Cotes du Ventoux Imagine
2009  Domaine Vindemio Cotes du Ventoux Regain
All other red wines, blends etc
From the Cellar. Older wines.
 

White
Chardonnay
2007  Domaine Corsin Saint-Veran Tirage Precoce [ = Unoaked ]   17 +  ()
Saint Veran,  Burgundy,  New Zealand:  13.5%;  $27   [ cork;  website a cover-page only;  www.domaine-corsin.com ]
Gorgeous lemon.  Bouquet is sweet fragrant clean chardonnay,  illustrating just how dramatic the uptake of new technology is in France these days.  There is just the slightest hint of fruit salad in pale stonefruits.  Palate is fresh,  with a lightly tactile richness plus some lees-autolysis,  scarcely or not oaked,  yet with a firm tannin or phenolic backbone to it,  making it a good food wine.  There is no hint of under-ripeness.  It is hard to get unoaked chardonnay as good as this.  Cellar 2 4 years.  GK 11/10

All other white wines, blends, etc.
2006  Ch Gaudrelle Vouvray Sec   16 ½  ()
Vouvray,  Loire Valley,  France:  12.5%;  $24   [ cork;  CB 100%;  www.chateaugaudrelle.com ]
Lemon-straw.  Bouquet is light,  clean and innocuous,  could even be good chasselas,  a suggestion of apple blossom.  Palate is pleasant rather neutral white wine with some of the heavyness of straightforward chenin blanc,  either unoaked or big old neutral oak only.  Finish is just off-dry,  not much sweeter than the average 'dry' Marlborough sauvignon.  Cellar 2 4 years.  GK 11/10

Red
Cabernet, Merlot, and related blends
2005  Ch Machorre Bordeaux Superieur   17 +  ()
Bordeaux Superieur,  Bordeaux,  France:  13.5%;  $25   [ cork;  Me 60%,  CS 30, CF 10;  12 months in French oak 50% new ]
Ruby and velvet,  markedly fresher than the Colombe.  Bouquet is fresher too,  and leaner and tauter,  clearly showing a cassisy cabernet sauvignon component and a greater purity of fruit definition,  with subtler oak,  some new.  Richness and ripeness is exemplary for Bordeaux Superieur with cabernet sauvignon,  and purity is first class.  This is very good petit Bordeaux,  which will cellar 5 15 years,  illustrating the style well.  It is more modern in approach than the Colombe.  VALUE.  GK 11/10

2005  Ch Sainte Colombe    17  ()
Cotes de Castillon,  Bordeaux,  France:  13.5%;  $30   [ cork;  Me 70%,  CF 30 ]
Older ruby and velvet.  Bouquet is classically Bordeaux in a ripe year,  fragrantly plummy,  brown tobacco and some new oak with hints of cedar and a little brett.  Palate is slightly austere after the bouquet,  fine grain,  oak noticeable for the weight of fruit,  more old oak than new.  This is a surprisingly new world merlot in its level of oaking,  with some maturity starting to show.  It should cellar well for 5 12 years.  GK 11/10

2005  Ch Lucas   16 ½ +  ()
Cotes de Castillon,  Bordeaux,  France:  13.5%;  $30   [ cork;  Me 80%,  CF 20 ]
Pleasant ruby,  not as rich as the Ch Machorre.  This wine benefits greatly from decanting,  to again reveal what a great vintage 2005 is in Bordeaux.  This example is just as ripe and fragrant and pleasing as the two rated slightly higher,  merlot-dominant and beautifully varietal,  just coarsely oaked (conceivably chips) and not quite so concentrated.  It is not as oaky as the Colombe,  so some may think it a little simple,  whereas others will prefer the berry dominance.  These are good petits Bordeaux.  Cellar 5 12 years.  GK 11/10

2005  Ch Respide   15 +  ()
Graves,  Bordeaux,  France:  12.5%;  $25   [ cork;  Me 60%,  CS 37,  PV 3 ]
Older ruby.  This wine demands decanting splashily a couple of times.  As with so many minor Graves,  it remains a bit pinched,  the bouquet lacking pleasing berry elements,  the palate tasting of elevage in concrete.  The Cotes du Rhone in this batch show that need not be limiting to wine quality,  however.  The wine has fruit,  but the nett result is simple claret,  quite rich but on the hard and plain side,  serviceable enough if well-ventilated.  Cellar 3 12 years.  GK 11/10

Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre & related blends
2009  Domaine Les Aphillanthes Cotes du Rhone-Villages Cuvée des Galets   17 ½ +  ()
Cotes du Rhone-Villages AOC,  Southern Rhone Valley,  France:  14.5%;  $27   [ cork; Gr 60%,  Sy 20,  Mv 20;  concrete elevage;  no website ]
Ruby,  carmine and velvet,  the same weight as the Albion but more youthful.  Bouquet is just beautiful,  all the fragrance of the Deux Albion but in a slightly softer and more burgundian way,  the spice of red-fruits grenache,  the complexity of mourvedre absolutely perfectly ripe,  and no hint of brett.  Palate does not have quite the spicy depth or darkness of the Albion,  but nor does it have the obvious sur-maturité of the Vindemios,  again making it a little more burgundian (in a dark way).  Finish is slightly shorter than ideal,  due to the lack of oak,  but this is sensational rich Cotes du Rhone.  Even this wine is very ripe,  though,  re my red burgundy suggestion,  on further thought.  Cellar 3 15 years.  VALUE.  GK 11/10

2008  Ch St Cosme Cotes du Rhone-Villages les Deux Albion   17 ½ +  ()
Cotes du Rhone-Villages AOC,  Southern Rhone Valley,  France:  14.5%;  $27   [ cork;  cepage along the lines of Sy 40%,  Gr 30,  Mv 10,  Ca 10,  clairette (white) 10%,  the Sy and clairette co-fermented,  the other three fermented separately;  note that from the 2007 vintage this wine (which is frequently Louis Barruol's best-value wine) has been from a single vineyard,  now owned by Saint Cosme,  and is therefore an Estate wine;  up to 70% of the wine is aged in 1 4 years-old barrels,  accounting for much of its charm,  and freedom from concrete-related faults;  www.saintcosme.com ]
Good ruby and velvet.  Bouquet is much more fragrant,  floral and complex than the Vindemio wines,  with clear cinnamon and a touch of nutmeg (and trace brett probably) giving lovely lift to a big rich wine.  It is not as spirity as the Vindemios,  either.  Palate shows great berry complexity and a touch of oak,  in a long supple very spicy and pleasing Southern Rhone wine fully up to the standard of some Chateauneuf-du-Papes.  Cellar 5 15 years.  I re-entered this wine in this second batch as a calibration point,  but it really is so good I have up-rated it.  Cotes du Rhone of this calibre give immense pleasure to all but the most entrenched wine-snobs,  and the good ones (like this) cellar far longer than conventional wisdom allows.  A wine like this also illustrates that good proprietors may make excellent wines in years rated as lesser,  and such wines may be more fragrant and pleasing than the more regular but hotter years.  VALUE.  GK 11/10

2009  Domaine Vindemio Cotes du Ventoux Amadeus   17 ½  ()
Cotes du Ventoux AOC,  Southern Rhone Valley,  France:  15%;  $38   [ cork;  Gr 80%,  Sy 20,  from 60-year old vines;  said to be no oak use at all;  the website is nominal,  as yet;  proprietor trained as a pharmacist;  www.vindemio.com ]
Ruby,  carmine and velvet,  nearly as dense as the Vindemio Imagine and just as youthful.  Bouquet shows an attractive whole-berry component on fruit nearly as ripe as Imagine,  surprisingly dark for grenache-dominant but not quite as chocolatey as the higher-syrah wine.  Palate is bone dry,  more spicy than Imagine,  again clearly spirity which accentuates the cinnamon of grenache.  These top Vindemios are both full-throttle,  high-octane,  American / Australian-style over-ripe wines in one sense,  but their lack of oak lightens them wonderfully and makes them very drinkable.  Cellar 5 20 years.  GK 11/10

2009  Domaine Vindemio Cotes du Ventoux Imagine   17 +  ()
Cotes du Ventoux AOC,  Southern Rhone Valley,  France:  15%;  $28   [ cork;  Sy 50%,  Gr 50;  proprietor trained as a pharmacist;  said to be no oak use at all;  the website is nominal,  as yet;  www.vindemio.com ]
Ruby,  carmine and velvet,  dense and fresh.  Bouquet is deep and dark and quiet,  yet richly fragrant in a tending-spirity way.  Berry ripeness is well along the darkly plummy path,  some sur-maturité,  no red-fruits,  hints of chocolate,  but a big mouth-filling wine.  It is a bit spirity and robust,  though,  not quite capturing the fragrant charm of the best southern Rhones.  Cellar 3 12 years.  GK 11/10

2009  Domaine Vindemio Cotes du Ventoux Regain   17  ()
Cotes du Ventoux AOC,  Southern Rhone Valley,  France:  15.5%;  $20   [ cork;  Gr 60%,  Sy 40;  said to be no oak use at all;  the website is nominal,  as yet;  proprietor trained as a pharmacist;  www.vindemio.com ]
Youthful lighter ruby,  as if high grenache.  Bouquet is raspberry grenache,  complex relative to Peter Lehman Barossa Valley Grenache,  but simple alongside Aphillanthes Galets in this batch.  Palate is pure,  faint stalks,  the red fruits and high alcohol carrying a reminder of ruby port,  a pure grenache-dominant wine (I don't believe the cepage given) but looking slightly clumsy alongside the top two.  2009 was obviously a remarkable summer in the Rhone valley,  and these very ripe Vindemios capture it completely.  Cellar 3 15 years.  GK 11/10

2009  Domaine Les Aphillanthes Cotes du Rhone   16 ½  ()
Cotes du Rhone AOC,  Southern Rhone Valley,  France:  14.5%;  $20   [ cork; Gr 80%,  Ca 10,  Mv 10;  concrete elevage;  no website ]
Ruby,  some carmine and velvet,  slightly darker than the Vindemio Regain.  Bouquet is fragrant,  delightful Cotes du Rhone,  the red fruits of grenache,  blackberry from syrah and carignan.  Palate is simpler than the higher-ranked wines,  the concrete elevation showing more obviously,  but there is good berry,  stalky / phenolic in youth,  possibly not totally bone dry.  It is so much richer and cleaner than some of the main commercial blended Cotes du Rhones on the market.  Cellar 3 8 years only,  the carignan will let it down in the longer term.  GK 11/10