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French red wine values tasted in 2003

The selected vibrant bottlings have given me much pleasure for the price. I have purchased them again for personal consumption. Featured values include 5 bottlings from the Midi and 4 Rhônes, and Domaine de Pierredon.

The below wines were tasted in France, in 2003 (between April and December). The tasting notes are listed by increasing prices, with the following format:

Appellation - producer - plot or brand - variety
Vintage - approximate price - general impression - on nose - on palate - after swallowing

Vin de pays d'Oc - les producteurs réunis, 11100 Narbonne - Vieilli en fût de chêne - Cabernet sauvignon

2001 - 1 € - well made but simple, perfect for a barbecue - a plain nose - a big impression in the mouth, healthy fruit holds out against the power of winemaking (impact, vanilla), balanced, no plant note, a little hard on the finale

Madiran - Denis Capmartin - Château Barréjat - (bag-in-box)

Non vintage - 2 € - the enormous red fruit shows more than in the Tradition cuvée, the wine is more open - red fruit dominates the nose - much fruit, dense, tannic, dries the palate and the tongue (this wine should not suit delicate taste buds)

Bordeaux wine labelBordeaux - S.F.V. A F 69220 - Bordeaux

Non vintage - 2 € - pleasant yet commonplace/ordinary, incomplete ripeness - a nose typical of Médoc: green pepper and the smell of an ivy patch when you tear it off the wall - a palate with tar, under-ivy, green pepper, not much dense but balanced - a short persistance

Vin de pays du Pont du Gard - SCA les Vignerons d'Estézargues - Cuvée des galets - Non filtré

2002 - 3 € - serve it cool - easy-going, not much onctuosity, cherry, dense, out of focus, pleasant but with a stiff hint

Vin de pays du Jardin de la France - A.Michel Brégeon - Cabernet - (cuve)

1994 - 3 € - a nose of cherry, red pepper and mushroom - red pepper on the palate, firm but light

Vin de pays du Var - Domaine L'Estagnol

2002 - 4 € - cherry dominates the nose - dense, cherry, dries the palate, more tannic than the Bordeaux S.F.V. A F 69220

Côtes-du-rhône wine labelCôtes du rhône - SCA les Vignerons d'Estézargues - Domaine de Pierredon

2001 - 4 € - the easy-going mouth shows much fruit and a mineral or dry note, lacks focus

Madiran - Denis Capmartin - Château Barréjat - Tradition

2000 - 5 € - coffee and roasting dominate the nose - the palate is fruity (blackcurrant), roasted, and balanced: the wine is less open than Estézargues but more tannic and fresher, tightens the taste buds (healthy effect) - to be also compared to the 1999 vintage tasted at the same age)

Côtes du rhône - Domaine du Vieux Colombier

1999 - 5 € - conforms to the Rhône standard - smells of garrigue - fruit, balance

Coteaux varois - Domaine Les Maurels

2001 - 5 € - character - the nose is dominated by chicken shit, or at least farmyard (Brettanomyces?): not disagreeable to me and the other guests - nice if a bit hollow and thin

Côtes du rhône - André Brunel - Cuvée Sommelongue

2001 - 5 € - on the nose: lead pencil, liquorice, garrigue - on the palate: lead pencil, liquorice, little black fruit

Côtes d'auvergne - Domaine de Peyra - Vieilles vignes [clay-basalt] - Non filtrée (sans soufre) - [gamay]

2001 - 6 € - on the nose: spice, orange, and liquorice - onctuous, the fruit typical of a low-temperature winemaking (coulis of red fruit, sorbet, smokiness), fresh, pure - the persistance shows spice, orange, and smokiness

Bourgogne-hautes-côtes-de-nuits wine labelBourgogne hautes côtes de nuits - Domaine Patrick Hudelot - (Pinot noir, à la propriété / sans nom de cuvée en grande distribution)

2001 - 6 € - On the 1st day: tasty without a big density - the cherry nose is fresh, classical Burgundy, with a roastbeef edge - intensity of flavour, cherry, rostbeef, very dry, juicy, no unripeness or manipulation, dries the palate and the gums - an aftertaste of cherry -
- On the 2nd day : a nose of morello cherry - cherry taste, holds its alcohol well, dries the palate and the gums

Saint-chinian wine labelSaint chinian - Jean-Marie Rimbert - Les Travers de Marceau

2002 - 7 € - a nose with cherry and blackberry - big impact on entry, cherry and blackberry, silky with a mineral note, clean and balanced (to be compared to the 2001 vintage tasted at the same age)

Ajaccio wine labelAjaccio - Clos d'Alzeto - (Tradition)

1997 - 7 € - wood varnish (but agreeable), blackcurrant, evolved fruit - evolved fruit, old casks, juicy - dries the taste buds


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