Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Spirit of Wine Tasting & Review: *** $ Domaine des Vialles, Cotes du Rhone, France, 2007 (BEST VALUE)

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Original Tasting and Review, June, 2010:   

By way of background: This is Domaine des Vialles, Cotes du Rhone, France, a blend of 65% grenache, 25% syrah, 5% carignan and 5% mourvedre, collected from vines up to 70 years old.  For 2007, the alcohol level is a whopping 14.5%.

In the glass: The wine shows as medium red with a hint of purple at the edge.  

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, this CdR shows bold, sweet fruit.

On the palate: The primary elements are an assertive, though alcoholic, ripe plum attack in the mid-palate, supported by bright purple notes leaping up your cheeks.  Elements of oak and tannins settle the brightness just a bit.  Seems to want a bit of time to age.

In summary: Overall, an assertive, bright, mostly new-world experience.  Rates two stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, with a plus for potential with another bit of time in bottle.  Has a lot of stuffing.

Following long decant, two days in partial bottle kept cool:   the nose has grown more muted.  The palate is more muted too, but in a good way... red fruits knit with a hint of brambly, old-world character, with brightness as an afterthought, not the center attraction.  Watch this space - may be moving towards three stars with some more bottle age.

Updated review, one year later, June, 2011:  Consistent color, but the edge has gone from purple to burgundy.  The nose is shy and soft.  The sip remains a bright purple experience, but tamed now to be reasonably well in balance between fruit and acids.  More like blackberries than plums on the palate now.  Finishes clean, with an alcohol bright flash at the close. Following long decant, one day kept cool in partially filled bottle:  Soft nose, inviting, sweet with light red berries.  Soft and sandy red on the palate, with a balanced, almost creamy finish.  Yummy enough to pop up to three stars and become a best value.  I highly encourage the four years in bottle since vintage date (or more), plus the long decant.


Updated review, almost three years later, now seven years from vintage date, April, 2014:  Deep muddy red in the glass, all purple is gone.  Nose is bold, fruity red and oaky/corky.  Clean, friendly and lush mid-red sip that feels red, sweet and poised.  Clean, but fast finish.  Remarkable that a Cotes du Rhone at this price point is holding up so well after seven years!

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