Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Review: *** $ Chemin des Olivettes, Coteaux du Languedoc, France, 2009 = BEST VALUE

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By way of background, opening thoughts: Languedoc is a somewhat lesser-known region of France, but creating some interesting wines, reds especially.  Here is a real value-priced offering from the region.

Original tasting and review. August, 2011: This is Cave de Roquebon Chemin des Olivettes, Coteaux du Languedoc, France, 2009, finished at 13.% alcohol, quite shy by many of today's red wine standards.

In the glass:  Chemin des Olivettes is deep magenta in the glass, not quite opaque anywhere, but showing some raw purple glints at the edge.  This blend is made up of 35% carignan, 30% grenache, 20% syrah and 15% mourvedre.

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, shows balanced, deep fruit, slightly beefy, slightly old world and gritty.  From the aroma, seems like this will be balanced and food-worthy.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact a purple-toned, medium-weight mid-palate experience, yielding very dry red currants and some supporting tannins and acids.  Finish offers dry plum and is completely clean, but is not lengthy. 

In summary: Overall, rates two stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, but earns a plus because I believe it will grow in stature with some air or some time in bottle.   

Following long decant, four hours at room temperature in flat bottomed decanter:  More aromatic deep fruit on the nose.  The red fruit is just starting to open up on the palate now, showing a dry, charcoal streak.  More time may loosen this up even more. And even longer decant, several days at room temperature in partially filled bottle:  Sweet, intriguing red meat on the nose now.   Remains dark on the palate, with a whisker more of fruit.  In the category of "taking one for the team", I am going to try an additional entire week in cool room temperature in a partially filled bottle to see what happens.  Somehow this wine does seem to want to come out and play...Following a crazy long decant, another week at room temperature in partially filled bottle:  Wild meaty fruit funk on the nose.  Wonderful or horrible - I can't quite tell which.  The rich fruit is now actually turning to rich wine vinegar - not oxidized, but actually vinegary.  Reminder to self: stop "taking one for the team"!!
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Updated review, over a year later,  September, 2012:  Still deep magenta in the glass, with a classic but shy aroma.  Red currants remain on the palate, but the fruit is more prominent now.  Creates a nice balanced, mid-red blend.  Moving this up to three stars with its three years in the bottle since vintage date.  Becomes a best value because of its bargain price.

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