Chateau Trillol Vallee des Hautes Corbieres 2011 — A Wine with Real Depth

Chateau Trillol GSC

Chateau Trillol GSC

Chateau Trillol Valle des Houtes Corbieres 2011

44% Grenache, 29% Carignan, 27% Syrah

The character of the Syrah comes through and gives this wine real depth.  At 14.5% ABV, it is big, but not a fruit bomb. Rather, it is a balanced wine with earth, oak and fruit blending into attractive savoriness.  It is an expression of French Syrah (as opposed to Australian Shiraz) that is much more fruit driven.

A full wine, dark with power, overlaid with oak flavors, minerality and smoke and a solid blackberry fruit base.  The oak and earth flavors dominate.  Fresh acids increase in their strength all the way to the finish, which is bright and lasting.  The wine’s persona is strength, presented with soft power.

Trillol is really a strong mouthful and a wine on the savory side, as expected with French Syrah.  Perfect balance, without losing the acid and the flavors, is expertly maintained.  Even though it has a touch of warmth, the alcohol is not out of balance.

Compare this with a Californian Syrah, but don’t expect a comparison of apples with apples.  The comparison is rather a comparison of apples and oranges.  Trillol is a blend, but 27% Syrah is enough to make a comparison with a 100% Syrah from the New World.  Syrah is a powerful grape and a little goes a long way.  I hope you are getting an increased understanding of the difference between Old World and New World wines

Syrah — Another New World vs Old World Comparison

Overlooking the vineyard

Overlooking the vineyard

Tardieu Laurent Cotes du Rhone Villages 2013

Here we have a Syrah (60%) Grenache (40%) blend from the Southern Rhone valley.  The Cotes du Rhone Villages offers great value and can be very appealing.  The style of this wine is finer and more reserved than the Guigal we evaluated in the previous post, but its emotional appeal is in emotion:  charm.  With a faint nose, dark fruits emerge: blackberry, huckleberry, and notes of leather and dark chocolate.  Raspberry lurks around the edges of the aroma.

This wine is very complex.  It ends with a balanced, medium finish and lots of pleasure.

Rating: 90

Compare the Tardieu with Luca Syrah, Lafarge Double Select 2011 from Valle de Uco Mendoza, Argentina.  

Again we are treated to full but delicate flavors.  Star anise, lavendar, bramble, blackberry, rhubarb, allspice and oak aromas combined with earth and herbs make for complexity and depth.  It is a sophisticated wine — somewhere between an Australian Shiraz and a Rhone Syrah.  As you sip this wine, note the difference that terroir makes to both the style and flavors of the wine.  I would not call this wine silky; rather more tactile, perhaps like velvet.

With these comparisons, you will see wine in its many expressions.  All are red with similar grapes, but all are so very different.  Seek to express your own emotional responses to them.

Rating:  90

New World Wine vs Old World Wine Compared

Rhone — Guigal Gigondes Rouge 2011

E. Guigal Chateau

E. Guigal Chateau

The Rhone Valley, known as Cotes du Rhone, stretches from the town of Lyon all the way to Avignon, 125 miles to the south.  In the north, fine wine of outstanding quality is to be found and in the southern reaches, a great variety of wines exist —some fine and some not so outstanding.  Unlike many French wine regions, the climate is more constant.  The soils are stoney and mainly granite based.  It is an ideal climate for wine grapes.  Mainly red wines are produced and Guigal is one of the prominent names that is easy to find at the wine store.

The Guigal Gigondes Rouge is a good expression of the Grenache grape.  An intense purple color, clean and bright, meets the eye with beautiful appeal.  There are layers of flavor: peach, apricot, licorice, toast, and cedar with a touch of arugula and earth in a racy structure.  Smooth tannins, moderate acids and a long finish conclude the interesting journey.  Minerality forms this wine’s foundation and signals its origin.  It is a food wine and a pleasant diversion from some of the New World wines.

Rating 90

Two Hands Cellar Door

Two Hands Cellar Door

Compare what the Guigal Grenache offers to a Shiraz from McClarenvale: Fleurieu South Australia, Two Hands Angel’s Share 2012.

A rich, deep, gorgeous nose introduces this wine with a drum roll.  Eucalyptus, sage, blackcurrant, juicy red fruits, sweet tobacco, vanilla, milk chocolate, cream and leather are among the aromas that assail your senses with an obvious appeal to angels and humans.  It is a deep magenta and well extracted.  Everything holds together in a soft, silky texture.

If you want a luscious gustatory experience, no food is necessary but grilled meats would round out the taste.  These two wines are very different.  Form your own judgements and remember: we are not comparing apples with apples, but we are comparing two great experiences — one from the Old World and one from the New World.

Rating 92

Wine from the Old World that Evokes New World Expectations

Chateau Puech Haute Le Prestige 2013

Chateau Puech Haute Le Prestige 2013

Chateau Puech-Haut, Sait Drezery, Le Prestige 2013

We are in the world of heavyweights at 15% alcohol and nothing about this wine seems to suggest anything less than bold and big.  However, nothing is out of balance.  The fruit, oak, tannins and acid all stand up to the alcohol.  It takes you on a gradually ascending journey from first sight to finish as the flavors and impact of the wine increases.

Expectations are of a New World wine that has been fully ripened and extracted.  On careful examination, however, it gives itself away with its minerality that suggests an Old World origin. This wine gives us insight into what the fruit of the Languedoc region with its rugged terrain can produce — fruit as deep as and full as the New World and with a minerality that adds yet another aspect to its obvious complexity.  The result is a food wine, serious and fleshy, with a solid frame and the edge of mineral notes.

Blackberry, plum, smoke, toast, licorice and mineral notes that linger as it coats the mouth — a true heavyweight, well endowed in all aspects.  Watch for wines from this region that are well rated and enjoy the adventure into France’s southern wine world, which is undergoing a renewal.

Rating 93

Bottled Sunshine: Wine from the Island of Corsica

Rosé wine at beach

Corsica is our next stop, not Provence as originally planned.  The grape for this Rosé is Nielluccio, which is Corsica’s name for the Sangiovese.  It is Sangiovese in the unusual style of a Rosé and with French influence.  The island of Corsica is sunny and drier than the rest of France.  Serious Rosé wine can be found here.  Patrimonio is in the north of Corsica and Nielluccio is the dominant grape from this area.  Another distinctive factor is that this grape is grown here in limestone soil.

A lovely light orange-gold shade — very attractive — is highlighted by the wine’s brilliance.  Low aromas of an earthy floral and light apricot note greet you.  A soft, slightly creamy mouth feel with fresh acid and a short to medium finish is offered in this lovely encounter.  It will stand up well with soft cheeses or any creamy food and cut through the richness.  Enjoy the wine and the experience of Corsica, a region you may not have encountered yet in your wine journeys.

Rating 89