Best PO Reds, whats yours?

Recommendations, comments or questions about wine matters

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TonyGoodman
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Best PO Reds, whats yours?

Post by TonyGoodman » Tue 02 Jan 2018 20:43

Everyone needs a hobby.

Some time ago I set myself a personal goal of replacing the usual supermarket sourced inhabitants of my wine cellar with PO wines. I realised I was surrounded by vines yet knew nothing about the wines. Even less regarding local artisan ales. The response to my modest PO Life jottings suggests there are fellow travelers out there on a similar quest.

Its winter, its flu season, its time for the local reds to step up. I've found a few absolute corkers, for example Andy Cook's efforts over at Tramontane wines. What would you suggest and why?

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Post by Anthea & Tim » Wed 03 Jan 2018 11:17

Fully agree on Tramontane Wines.

We also rate Chateau Montana, Domaine Cazes and Chateau Lauriga.

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Post by TonyGoodman » Wed 03 Jan 2018 11:40

Anthea & Tim wrote:Fully agree on Tramontane Wines.

We also rate Chateau Montana, Domaine Cazes and Chateau Lauriga.

Cazes is v good, The Montana reds I've tried have been solid to start with but seemed fade away a bit too quickly. I've not tried the Lauriga which is an error on my part as they are almost next door. Do you have a particular favourite?

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Post by Anthea & Tim » Thu 04 Jan 2018 09:18

We feel Le Cadet de Lauriga is a good everyday wine with the Reserve or one of the Cuvees for special occasions.

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Post by TonyGoodman » Thu 04 Jan 2018 10:08

Anthea & Tim wrote:We feel Le Cadet de Lauriga is a good everyday wine with the Reserve or one of the Cuvees for special occasions.
Thanks, I have put it on my list to visit. Its a good time to visit producers before they gear up for spring. I'm very aware of the amount of effort they put in year round so feel a little guilty taking up their time other times of the year.

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Post by Allan » Thu 04 Jan 2018 18:24

I'm a massive fan of the Clos des Fées. Their Petite Sibérie is a supreme example of what can be made from local grape varieties. Unfortunately it is too expensive for everyday drinking.

Their lower priced wines are however much more affordable and of excellent quality.

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Post by TonyGoodman » Thu 04 Jan 2018 19:47

Allan wrote:I'm a massive fan of the Clos des Fées. Their Petite Sibérie is a supreme example of what can be made from local grape varieties. Unfortunately it is too expensive for everyday drinking.

Their lower priced wines are however much more affordable and of excellent quality.
I just went to their website and checked their entry in Peter Strang's book. Its a perfect example of what I'm finding which totally confuses me. The region produces staggering good wines yet it seems to be a national secret, at least to me the only impression I had of the regions wines was second or third tier plonk. How wrong I was.

While the budget may not run to the prices they ask its incredibly satisfying to know quality wines like this exist.

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Post by Santiago » Sat 06 Jan 2018 10:41

Allan wrote:I'm a massive fan of the Clos des Fées. Their Petite Sibérie is a supreme example of what can be made from local grape varieties. Unfortunately it is too expensive for everyday drinking.

Their lower priced wines are however much more affordable and of excellent quality.
Clos des Fees is a very good producer. However La Petite Siberie is an experiment in pricing aimed at a certain clientele. At 200€ a bottle it's not even in the realm of once a year drinking.

The beauty of the wines of the Roussillon does not lie at either extreme of the price range and yet that is generally all people talk about. Nearly all the really great wines are in the 10-30€ bracket.

However, what is great wine and what is good value every-day drinking are different things.
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Post by Allan » Sat 06 Jan 2018 17:25

[quote="Santiago
Clos des Fees is a very good producer. However La Petite Siberie is an experiment in pricing aimed at a certain clientele. At 200€ a bottle it's not even in the realm of once a year drinking.

The beauty of the wines of the Roussillon does not lie at either extreme of the price range and yet that is generally all people talk about. Nearly all the really great wines are in the 10-30€ bracket.

However, what is great wine and what is good value every-day drinking are different things.[/quote]

It seems strange to dismiss La Petite Sibérie as 'an experiment in pricing' when all the major wine guides rate it as 'Exceptional' and amongst the best wines in the world. As for the price, like anything else, its price is determined by what people are prepared to pay for it and compared to some other great wines the price is not unrealistic. Have you actually tasted it?.

Of course it isn't a wine for everyday but there is something really nice about sharing an extra special bottle of wine with friends.

I am not sure what you mean by great wines in the 10-30€ bracket. how are you defining a 'great wine'.

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Post by TonyGoodman » Sun 07 Jan 2018 11:19

Allan wrote:[quote="Santiago
Clos des Fees is a very good producer. However La Petite Siberie is an experiment in pricing aimed at a certain clientele. At 200€ a bottle it's not even in the realm of once a year drinking.

The beauty of the wines of the Roussillon does not lie at either extreme of the price range and yet that is generally all people talk about. Nearly all the really great wines are in the 10-30€ bracket.

However, what is great wine and what is good value every-day drinking are different things.
It seems strange to dismiss La Petite Sibérie as 'an experiment in pricing' when all the major wine guides rate it as 'Exceptional' and amongst the best wines in the world. As for the price, like anything else, its price is determined by what people are prepared to pay for it and compared to some other great wines the price is not unrealistic. Have you actually tasted it?.

Of course it isn't a wine for everyday but there is something really nice about sharing an extra special bottle of wine with friends.

I am not sure what you mean by great wines in the 10-30€ bracket. how are you defining a 'great wine'.[/quote]

Perhaps what we are really talking about and what I'm finding is a disconnect between price and quality/drinkability?

Previously I'd decide how much I wanted to spend then go to Waitrose and grab something around that price point. I had faith the quality of the wine was directly related to the price. However here a few pence will buy a very very good wine while you can spend 30 - 45 E and get something barely drinkable. I wonder whether local DNA or maybe gut flora play a part? For example recently I had half a bottle of a very popular, top local producer's white that gave me a headache which lingered for three days yet the locals seems to consume lakes of the stuff with total abandon.

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Post by Webdoc » Sun 07 Jan 2018 12:03

TonyGoodman wrote:Perhaps what we are really talking about and what I'm finding is a disconnect between price and quality/drinkability?
Blind tastings eliminate feelings of anticipation or expectation and often produce surprises. Lidl has been listed amongst the best reds, whites and pinks, and the highest regarded champenoise recently was an English sparkler. So that rather confirms Tony's idea of a "disconnect".

In my opinion EVERYTHING about wine is subjective. There's no scientific measure that can be used to exclude personal taste. Even the "industry standard" Parker Points is just one person's opinion.

Therefore words such as "great" or "good value" must be an expression of personal opinion and do not require (or are capable of) justification or "proof".

In MY humble opinion a 10 euro bottle of wine is often "twice as good" as a 5 euro bottle but I would struggle to say that a 50 euro bottle was "ten times better". I have however recently tasted 4 different wines from a prestigious local producer sold at relatively premium prices - one was excellent, one very good, but two undrinkable (I tried hard but eventually left them in the glass).

I've been fortunate enough to drink Chateau Petrus (twice) and Chateau Yquem (once) and La Tour Blanche (many times) but I would never buy them myself. I found them very pleasant but not "worth the price". My current usual price target is 10 euros per bottle but I'm not so fussy that I would decline anything offered to me unless it was truly vinegar.

Personal opinon aside there is, I feel, one Incontravertebral Truth about local wines here in the Languedoc and that is that the true "market value" of many wines are suppressed by the historical tradition of this region producing high-volume low-quality wines and in recent history (20+ years) losing their market share to the New World. Vin de Pays D'Oc was always to be found on the bottom shelf of the supermarket and it's therefore relatively harder for quality local producers to command the higher prices that other regions can charge. This must be very frustrating for the new wave of vignerons who are drawn to this area and consequently I can quite understand a producer who tries to "break the mould" by selling his best cuvee at (for the local area) an eye-popping price. It gets you noticed and people with the funds may want to try it to know what it's all about.

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Post by jethro » Sun 07 Jan 2018 14:25

For everyday drinking, the local wine from Château de Villeclare is passable; Montana is also good, the Gauby wine range, including the celebrated Soula is excellent and I have never been disappointed by the Tremoine de Rasiguères rosé. The Mas Amiel reds are also good.But beware of the Sorède red, as thin and unpleasant a beverage as was ever used for engraving on copper.
an' the wun' cried Mary.

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Post by TonyGoodman » Sun 07 Jan 2018 15:35

jethro wrote:For everyday drinking, the local wine from Château de Villeclare is passable; Montana is also good, the Gauby wine range, including the celebrated Soula is excellent and I have never been disappointed by the Tremoine de Rasiguères rosé. The Mas Amiel reds are also good.But beware of the Sorède red, as thin and unpleasant a beverage as was ever used for engraving on copper.


I might have another look at Montana's offerings I was a bit disappointed with my one and only tasting to date. Don't know the others as yet.

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Post by Santiago » Thu 11 Jan 2018 12:54

Of course wine is an extremely subjective topic.

However, it's not totally subjective. If a wine is vinegary. most people would spot that and most wouldn't like it. When you study wine as a science, you learn to identify the parts that make up the whole and to see when those parts are lacking or too dominant.

Also, everyone's opinion is not equal. A very large number of wine consumers have no idea why they like what they are drinking and are inconsistent in their assessment of wine, being influenced far more by the occasion, the company, the price and/or the label.

There is a useful method to assess the "greatness" of a wine called the BLIC system, whereby the enjoyment of the wine is broken down into the following:

Balance
Length
Intensity
Complexity

To be truly great, a wine should rate highly in all those categories.

Of course, all those categories are subjective but at least it makes you think about why you like or dislike a particular wine more than another.
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Post by Santiago » Thu 11 Jan 2018 12:56

Allan wrote:[quote="Santiago
Clos des Fees is a very good producer. However La Petite Siberie is an experiment in pricing aimed at a certain clientele. At 200€ a bottle it's not even in the realm of once a year drinking.

The beauty of the wines of the Roussillon does not lie at either extreme of the price range and yet that is generally all people talk about. Nearly all the really great wines are in the 10-30€ bracket.

However, what is great wine and what is good value every-day drinking are different things.
It seems strange to dismiss La Petite Sibérie as 'an experiment in pricing' when all the major wine guides rate it as 'Exceptional' and amongst the best wines in the world. As for the price, like anything else, its price is determined by what people are prepared to pay for it and compared to some other great wines the price is not unrealistic. Have you actually tasted it?.

Of course it isn't a wine for everyday but there is something really nice about sharing an extra special bottle of wine with friends.

I am not sure what you mean by great wines in the 10-30€ bracket. how are you defining a 'great wine'.[/quote]

To answer Allan's question. Yes, of course I've tasted La Petite Siberie several times, alongside the rest of the range. As someone who turned their obsessive hobby into their profession, there are almost no notable Roussillon wines that I have not tasted at some point.

Petite Siberie is a great wine. But I don't think many critics view it as the exceptional wine of the region or as an exceptional wine in its price bracket. What it does do is help sell tens of thousands of bottles of Les Sorcieres.
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Post by Allan » Thu 11 Jan 2018 13:16

Santiago wrote:
Petite Siberie is a great wine. But I don't think many critics view it as the exceptional wine of the region or as an exceptional wine in its price bracket. What it does do is help sell tens of thousands of bottles of Les Sorcieres.
You must read different guides to me, Parkers and Wine Spectator regularly rate it in the high nineties.

Just to be clear, which region are we talking about? The PO or Languedoc-Roussillon which most critics lump together.

I would be interested in what you think are viewed as the exceptional wines of the region?

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Post by TonyGoodman » Thu 11 Jan 2018 13:28

For my personal project I'm focusing on producers within an hour of downtown Perpignan. I'd be interested in any recommendations.

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Post by Santiago » Thu 11 Jan 2018 14:12

I read a lot of guides, French, British, American. As an insider I know a lot about how they function and some are more reliable than others. Parker, as you probably know, is very divisive. Some wine buffs love his choices, others dislike them. Spectator was the subject of a research paper which showed a large correlation with their scores and their advertising revenue.

The best way IMO to discover great wines, allowing for subjectivity, is to discuss with other wine lovers and taste as much as possible, keeping an open mind.

To be honest, I don't think we should get worked up about what are viewed as the "exceptional" wines of the region because that's where the subjective judgement really comes in. Every critic, and every winelover, has a different favourite Roussillon wine.

I think Petite Siberie a great wine but it is exceptional only for its price.

I prefer to band wines (and producers) into three categories. Poor, decent and great. Within the "great" category there will be many different styles and preferences.

I'm not going to name them all because there are too many. But regular visits to the independent cavistes of the region, especially those in Perpignan, will help you decide which are your favourites, which are overrated and which are a bit weird for your tastes.

My last point is important. Because of the newness of this region as one making great wines, many of the highly-rated producers named by the critics are making funky "Natural" wines that are very unlikely to impress someone who has developed their tastes through classic wines like top Bordeaux, Rhone, Burgundy or even California and Australia.
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Post by Pighunter » Thu 11 Jan 2018 16:37

Domaine Treloar's 'Le Secret' does it for me every time.

Not wishing to make Santiago's head swell but I love the stuff, and many clients have asked how they can get their hands on some having tasted it at mine.

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Post by Anthea & Tim » Fri 12 Jan 2018 07:59

Chateau de Lacroix in Cabestany may also be worth a look.

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Post by TonyGoodman » Fri 12 Jan 2018 17:45

An addendum to my search for a bottle of Clos de Rouge Gorge and the query whether the local consumers know what they have here. I found this on the net.


Aria-Brisbane-Wine-List-27.12.16.pdf Page 9

Apparently its available 12,000 miles away but not here.

I may have to put this project aside until the next Ashes tour down under.

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Post by dsd » Sat 13 Jan 2018 14:48

Les Pierres Plates, Terrassous, as recommended to me by the Director of the Cave in Argelès. Around 10E a bottle. I have often bought it for other people and everyone has loved it

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Post by TonyGoodman » Sun 14 Jan 2018 09:53

Dropped into the small cave in the smaller covered market in Perpignan. In my humble opinion a much better range than the booth in the bigger market and the caviste has a greater depth of knowledge.

The caviste suggested this one for roast pork belly. Superb and for just under 20E great value. I've paid five times that for Cote Roties which were as not as good.



http://www.rectorie.com/les-vins/collio ... -cote-mer/


Berry Bros & Rudd, whose opinions I respect like what they do.

https://www.bbr.com/producer-2490-domai ... a-rectorie

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Post by Helen » Sun 14 Jan 2018 11:51

I'm pretty clueless about wine but have been keen to learn more about what's produced locally, so tend to pop into the caves in either Amelie or Ceret to ask for recommendations.

A couple of years back I was going to stay with friends up in the Aude who appreciate good wines, and so I asked for advice in the Amelie cave.

One of their suggestions was La Rectorie - the Collioure Rouge : cote mer.

I bought it - and it was very much enjoyed around the table in the Aude (though I can't now remember what with).

It went on to my 'definitely buy again' list.

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Post by TonyGoodman » Mon 15 Jan 2018 10:03

A query for santiago re BLIC


For an amateur I also look for something different, an interesting X factor which I assume is driven by the type of grapes and of course the winemakers skil. Is that what you mean by Complexity? After being raised on big bold sometimes brutal Syrah or Cab Sav reds the local blending of old vines I've not encountered before is quite refreshing.

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Post by Santiago » Wed 17 Jan 2018 11:45

I think what you are saying is more about balance. Complexity is the range or number of aromas and flavors the wine has.

I totally get the thing about discovering new grape varieties and flavors. It’s fun and I still do it myself but the BLIC system is about analyzing the merits of the wine, not just its novelty.
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Post by TonyGoodman » Sun 28 Jan 2018 09:42

Had the Lauriga 100% Merlot last night with chicken wrapped with Iberico ham. What was interesting was usually I find a 100% Merlot easy satisfying drinking. However perhaps due to my explorations with various local grape types I found it a bit bland. My taste buds are changing? The wine was nicely crafted and totally drinkable. Not sure of the price TBH I just threw it in the trolley when cruising the wine cave at LeClerc Nord however I would class it as a good value BBQ wine. Not a lightweight, more George Foreman than Lester Piggott so deserves respect.

I think I need to saddle up and trot over to the domaine and have a look at the more interesting wines.

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Post by Santiago » Sun 28 Jan 2018 10:42

Lauriga was sold a couple a of years ago to the large Languedoc wine company "Paul Mas" who I'm sure you have seen in the supermarkets. They decided to keep the name of the domaine but it's an estate that would tick the boxes for a wine company. Young vineyards on flat land with new trellis and irrigation. Easy to mechanise and perfect for making everyday wines.
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Post by TonyGoodman » Sun 28 Jan 2018 11:07

Therefore my taste buds may not have changed its more to do with bland easy drinking wines?

Nothing wrong with that of course, its good to have a bottle or two of something reliable for when the neighbours drop in however its not what I'm looking for at the moment.

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Re: Best PO Reds, whats yours?

Post by collioure » Wed 20 Mar 2019 21:16

I drive a route de vin every summer or fall when I buy about 60 bottles, almost without tasting. I love Mourvèdre, and about half of the wines I buy include at least 30% of it. My favorite wine is l'Amourette from Thunévin-Calvet at the entrance of Maury. However, for the first time in a number of years in 2019 I am going to buy Les Hauts de Força Réal from Domaine Força Real on the hill opposite Milles. This wine has exotic, wild berry flavors.
While I have your attention, I will note that I obtain excellent (91 from Parker) red Zinfandel from the only Zinfandel hectare in France. It comes from Domaine de l'Arjolle in the Hérault and is available at the Palais du Vin in Narbonne.

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