Tag Archives: merlot

Puydeval 2010

Every now and again you get a wine that just works. Maybe it just works with your mood, with dinner, with the Rolling Stones who knows, but when you taste it you do. I grilled up a Moroccan lamb shoulder last night with a huge side of aromatic couscous. I wanted something that would work with the flavors, with the 70f weather, with my happy mood (I had just spent the day riding the BMW through the countryside around Hartford). I found an orphan bottle of Puydeval and knew instinctively that it would work. The ’10 is a blend of cabernet franc, syrah and merlot – heavier on the cab and syrah, 14% merlot. It’s from the Languedoc region of southern France – where gorse bushes grow by the side of the motorway and baked, inhospitable soil makes vines work to survive. This is a survivor. Jeff Carrel, itinerant ex-Parisian decided that an education in law at the Sorbonne was not nearly as interesting as an education in oenology at Montpelier. I used to play (rugby) against Montpelier when I was with USAP back in the day when this sort of wine was bottled in plastic with a little plastic flip-top lid and you used to go down to the local Hyper-Marché and refill the bottle. Languedoc has come a long way since then and probably more than any other region in France it has seen the greatest increase in quality in wine – helped by Monsieur Carrel.

The wine was perfect for the meal – it’s got a lush body wrapped around blueberry and blackcurrant with a touch of tar and chewing tobacco. Shame those guys on the diamond can’t chew this – maybe then they wouldn’t spit every few seconds. Back to the wine – luscious and simple; marvelous balance between dark fruit, sweet balsamic, alcohol and savagery! This is a tamed wild animal that is ridiculous value when parked next to some CNPs or Californian stuff that pretends to be Rhone. I think it’s the way the cab franc blends into the rest of the wine – it’s like a perfect soufflé. The label might suck but try the wine – I defy you not to love it.

  • Producer: Puydeval
  • Vintage: 2010
  • Varietal: Cabernet Franc/Syrah/Merlot
  • Country: France
  • Region: Languedoc
  • Production: Reasonable
  • Availability: Yes. $18.00pb – $15.30pb on 12

Order: Ordering is simple. Click on the e-mail link below and tell me how many bottles you think you may want. We’ll figure out the rest from there and reply to your e-mail within 1 day.

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Posted by on March 18, 2012 in daily post


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Chateau Jouclary Cuvee Tradition 2007

Only the French could do something like this. There’s an area outside of Carcassonne called Cabardes. the region is mountainous and beautiful, rugged and somewhat primeval. You can drive through the mountains and see no cars, no people and no watering holes. But there are a few vineyards and under the French regulations that govern the various AOCs, Cabardes wines are required to be made with both Atlantic based grapes – merlot and cabernet sauvignon, and Mediterranean grapes – syrah and grenache. The region is much closer to the Med but presumably they wanted to be equally associated with Bordeaux styled wines so they could enter their wines at both Bordeaux and Southern Region trade shows! Who knows. What I know is that the wine is possibly one of the best values I have encountered from France in a decade. I think the 07 blend is 60% merlot, 20% grenache and 20% syrah. At about $14.00 that makes it an incredible buy.

The wine is lush but not in that nasty cotton candy style. It has backbone, from the southern grapes, smooth velveteen tannins from the merlot, garrigue from the syrah from which you also get those lovely herbal notes that remind you of sage and rosemary, thyme and pepper. This is a true cooks wine. Robust, dark, really tasty and flavors that remind the cook why its so important to taste everything along the way. You could decant this, put it on the table and have an empty bottle of Pichon 89 lying around, close enough to confuse, and I bet you your wine snob friends will think you’ve opened up the Pichon just for them! Brilliant way to fake ‘em out. This is another wine that’s going to become my house favorite – lovely juice at a fraction of a price.

  • Producer: Chateau Jouclary
  • Vintage: 2007
  • Varietal: Merlot, Syrah, Grenache
  • Country: France
  • Region: Cabardes
  • Production: Probably quite decent
  • Availability: Yes. At Wine at Five

Order: Ordering is simple. Click on the e-mail link below and tell me how many bottles you think you may want. We’ll figure out the rest from there and reply to your e-mail within 1 day.

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Posted by on February 16, 2012 in daily post


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Koyle Reserva Carmenere 2009

Got home late last night so dinner was on the lighter side. Roast butternut squash soup and a frisée salad with loads of croutons (home-made), speck and a perfectly poached egg. The combination isn’t attractive from a wine point of view but I had a bottle of our Wine of the Month club wine hanging around and thought what the hell. It’s Koyle Carmenere and it was perfect.

The Koyle Carmenere comes from the Alto Colchagua region of Chile. The family has been making the wine since before I was born – 1885 and under the present care of Cristobal Undurraga I suspect they are making the best wine they ever have. There’s a lot of confusion about reserva wines from South America, being that there isn’t really any regulation that dictates length of time in barrel or bottle. You could have a ‘super reserva’ from Argentina that’s never seen the inside of a barrel and probably only been bottled a week before delivery. But this Koyle Reserva does actually see new French oak barrels for a minimum of 1 year. Don’t expect a rush of splinters when you taste it – the oak is much diffused. You do however get a lovely smooth, velvety texture, hints of funny red berries (the ones that critics like to name but in all honesty no one has ever tasted), some dry baking spices, touch of nougatine, no hot spots and a lovely, deep finish.

For a while people thought that Carmenere was related to or was merlot – wrong. It is its own grape, but the flavors, texture and aroma are definitely reminiscent of merlot, and in the hands of Undurraga the wine tastes like a super Right Bank Bordeaux at a fraction of the cost.

This was a really warm, satisfying red, underrated probably because its Chile but one that I’m going to put in my cellar and drink over the next few years.

  • Producer: Vina Koyle
  • Vintage: 2009
  • Varietal: Carmenere
  • Country: Chile
  • Region: Alto Colchagua
  • Production: Don’t know but I suspect quite large
  • Availability: Good – $17.00 per btl. $14.25 per case (12)

Order: Ordering is simple. Click on the e-mail link below and tell me how many bottles you think you may want. We’ll figure out the rest from there and reply to your e-mail within 1 day.

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Posted by on February 7, 2012 in daily post


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