Saturday, November 28, 2009

***+ $$ Calvet-Thunevin Constance Cuvee, 2005, Vin de Pays Des Cotes Catalanes, Languedoc, France - Wine Review and Rating

Find Calvet-Thunevin Constance Cuvee at WineZap.

By way of background: Calvet-Thunevin Cuvee Constance red wine is called a "Vin de Pays Des Cotes Catalanes", something entirely new in my book. It is a portion of the Languedoc Roussillon region of France. I was drawn to Cuvee Constance because of a Wine Advocate review that said the palate included "lead pencil shavings". My last experience with "lead pencil shavings" was a 1999 Vaca Cabernet Sauvignon, a very small parcel of cabernet from what would in later vintages be called Rudd Winery. It was a gorgeous experience, one I haven't been able to replicate with any modestly-priced wines.

Oh, yes, one more note before we dig into the tasting... this shows 14.5% alcohol by the label - a whopping big alcohol level by non-new-world standards.

Let's see if we find the pencil shavings here...

In the glass: Shows deep magenta, moving virtually opaque once you settle an inch or so into the glass.

On the nose: Poured without a decant and swirled vigorously, Cuvee Constance offers a bold, almost oxidized-seeming aroma of thick, stewed red berries. There is a note of clean garden soil in there too.

On the palate: The sweet raspberry compote hits your upper palate first, with ample tannins helping the jam to slowly slide down your cheeks. The fruit, sweet tannins and modest acids stay balanced throughout, though the thick fruit never leaves center stage. A clean minerality supports the experience.

And the finish: With the substantial alcohol, you get a bold, perfumed ending even after your sip is finished. Eventually the dry raspberry fades, leaving a clean palate for the next sip. You'll want one.

In summary: Alas, no lead pencil shavings. Still, a complete experience, one definitely worth a return engagement. Three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, with a plus added for its potency throughout. Not quite the layers to make four stars, but strong enough showing to yield a "good value" designation.

David Schildknecht of Wine Advocate was a definite fan of Calvet-Thunevin Constance Cuvee, awarding 90 points and writing,"The 2005 Constance (technically a 'Cotes Catalanes' Vin de Pays) - consisting of Grenache with 30% Syrah and 10% Carignan - represents the only cuvee among the Calvet-Thunevin line-up not to be aged for 18 months in new barriques, but rather roughly half as long and exclusively in cement. Sweet and alluring aromas of creme de cassis and black raspberry jam lead to a palate of liqueur-like richness along with deep bitter chocolate and coffee as well as wet stone and lead pencil shadings. This excellent value offers an almost unprecedented amount of pure ripe fruit and resonance of finish for its price, and while it is successfully designed for impulsive (possibly even compulsive) consumption, it might well display more nuance with another year or two in bottle."

Find Calvet-Thunevin Constance Cuvee at WineZap.

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