there are some new reviews oozing though here, but we're not deckin em up all pretty til we work out an otherwise unborn style for this sleazy rube we call drankster


that's a George Grainger Aldridge cartoon ... obviously a pre-screwcap man

08 March 2009


Abbotts & Delaunay Alto Stratus Carignan 2010
$40; 14% alcohol; cork; tasted 10-12JUL12; 94+++ points
And this is what Carignan’s supposed to taste like.  Sanjay Chhabra’s very smart Fourth Wave Wine Partners has begun to ship this treasure through Sydney; Chace Agencies will do it in Adelaide.  I am hugely relieved.  It is a rare 100% Carignan.  It comes from the north-west Mediterranean, at the freshly-nascent region called Minerva, as do an increasing number of stunning red wines.  But a 100% pure Carignan like this is not permitted to claim it comes from Minerva, which is a classic piece of Gallic dumb – the outdated appellation insists anything called Minerva must be a blend of at least two prescribed varieties.  But no other flavour is necessary here: the wine is entire; whole; intact: without being fat, it is quite simply a gorgeous soft plumpness of luxurious proportion and entirely satisfying form.  I have studied the one bottle for over a week now, and it’ll run out before it falls apart.  It still has beautiful fruit after all that air, with fig, date and prune taking over from the primary blackberries and satsuma, and it has some lovely deep leafy hints, like grilled beetroot greens. The wine is still in elegant balance, its persistent acidity teasing more length and satisfaction from that plush fruit and its enduring, velvet tannins.  In other words, it’ll last for many years if you need it to, and make you very happy in the meantime if you want it to.

Domaine Borie de Maurel Esprit d'Automne Minervois 2006

$16; 13% alcohol, screw cap; 90+ points
Carignan, grenache, lladoner pelut, mourvedre and shiraz are the grapes of Minervois, usually blended in that order. (lladoner pelut is a form of grenache with particularly furry leaves and very thick skins.) This maker, Michel Escande, is a long-time biodynamicist. With attitude. This is a really good wine at such a silly price: and even at that low alcohol, seems slightly, but not too, jammy. There's a sprinkle of hot white pepper, too, which conversely indicates grapes short of full ripeness. A clever balance! It's all prunes and plums, otherwise, vibrantly alive and syrupy to sniff. The palate's chocolatey, in the Mississippi mud cake manner, with all sorts of live berries buried there; the finish tight and dry and yelling for hot chorizos and black olives. Australia should beware the Longuedoc-Rousillon! They have taken the Roseworthy dogma and cooked it with their long past and now produce hearty, bright wines like this at prices few Ockers can match. Vintage Cellars and 1st Choice stores only. 08 MAR 09

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