Browse Tag

southwest france

Bas Skaggs

Grouet 1964 Bas-Armagnac (Southwest France) – Incredibly rich with mixed nuts and well-aged stone fruit. Yet somehow, it retains a vivid youthfulness. Maybe the best way to describe it is strong-willed. Truly excellent. (4/06)

In fact, there is a mountain high enough

[mountain flower]Bikers sweat, struggle, and bleed their way up…then down…this shockingly precipitous, beautifully desolate mountain climb. They can have it. In a car, driving inches from an unguarded plunge into cartwheeling death, it’s…less fun. Considering how long it takes to get here, it’s all more than a bit frustrating, but after a half-hour’s climb, the swift onrush of imminent mortality becomes just too much to bear for the acrophobic.

…continued here.

Peyros tax

Peyros 2001 Madiran “Vieilles Vignes” (Southwest France) – A half-hour’s decanting is really all that’s needed here, as the wine bursts forth from the container with deep, dark, only slightly brutal black fruit. There’s a hint of char and a good deal of forceful weight. After a while, everything appealing goes away and one is left with the expected mouth-puckering tannin, but what’s interesting (or disturbing, depending on one’s point of view) is that the hard tannin and the big fruit never take the stage at the same time; the fruit is the opening act, while the tannin is the headliner, and there’s no encore jamming. I think it will age, but something seems “off” about the fundamental conception of this wine, and so I’m not sure. (3/08)

The name of Darroze

Darroze 1985 Bas-Armagnac (Southwest France) – Almond cream and wood. Warming rather than hot, as a brandy should be. A bit on the simple side, however. (4/06)

Mike & family

[pictures]Rotier 2005 Gaillac “Les Gravels” (Southwest France) – This is the sort of country French wine, with structure and character, that works better in its home region than it does on the road. Still, it’s appealing enough, with a lot of leathery tannin coupled to dark, meaty fruit and the blackest soil. Like many reds from the Southwest, it pairs sweatier southern French aromas with a structure reminiscent of Bordeaux to the north, and strongly suggests that it will benefit from age. Right now, though, it’s solidly made but somewhat lacking interest past the very fact of it. (1/08)

Vapor Barrère

Barrère “Clos de la Vierge” 2005 Jurançon Sec (Southwest France) – Very crisp, but the acidity has a refinement and place to it, and the rest of the wine exists in service to it…yet the wine is not dominated by its acidity. It’s hard to describe, I guess. There’s a beautiful, washed-granite starkness to this, and yet the palate is full of rocky generosity, with little alpine flowers clinging to the rock face. Long, exquisitely poised, and rather breathtaking. (12/07)

The lady of Charentes

[vineyard]Pierre Ferrand Pineau des Charentes “Sélection” (Cognac) – Bland, flat-aspect old plum sweetness and oxidation. It tastes utterly classic, but it’s incredibly dull. (8/07)

TN: Cognac the magnificent

[bottles]Pierre Ferrand Cognac “1er Cru Réserve” (Southwest France) – Warming, tanned sand and perfectly crisped potato with blended baking spices, old cider and a white pepper edge on the finish. Pretty. (5/07)

TN: Madiran, I ran so far away

Savoret “Clos Fardet” 1998 Madiran (Southwest France) – Very tannic (of course), showing nicely-developing blackened mushroom, charred blackberry, and liquid black soil. There’s even a hint of unrefined oil. Blended herbs and more berries stir into the finish. If such a thing can even be said, it seems slightly commercial for Madiran, but there’s no denying it’s a tasty wine. (5/07)

TN: French colombard

[vineyard]Domaine du Tariquet 2005 Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne Ugni Blanc/Colombard (Southwest France) – The general suggestion is “basic white wine,” with the clean, vague fruit that resides somewhere between dried citrus and faded apple, buoyed by acidity. But there’s a little more here…a nuttiness and aromatic leaf grace note that add interest and backpalate development. Nice. (5/07)