It was quickly clear who the real princesses were. They all have illustrious names and come from royal courts: Corton-Charlemagne, Figeac, Beaucastel, Branaire-Ducru, Montrose, Latour, Yquem. Add to this their long matured dignity: born in 1943, 1955, 1959, 1962, 1967, 1970, 1986... Cared for and nurtured, under the best conditions, raised and educated on the noble farms.
What is the role of the offspring from the rural Languedoc in the midst of these illustrious celebrities? It may have a beautiful name: "Peyre Rose", but it comes entirely from the south of France, where today "vin de table" is still mostly produced for the "masses".
|Tasting of the "Revue du Vin de France" with princesses and a "Cinderella".|
We are talking about a "bridal show", called: "Grande Dégustation" of the "Revue du Vin de France", where 12 very different wines are to be tasted under the motto "50 ans de Grands Vins". Wines - from the Bordelais, from Burgundy, from the Rhone, the Loire, from Alsace and just - the Languedoc.
The oldest wine is a war vintage, which only appears very rarely at auctions; which I - for example - have never drunk before. Château Latour, 1943, Pauillac: undoubtedly the "star" of the evening. More than 60 years in the bottle and still "this life, these fine nuances in the aromas, this power and presence". Unbelievable!
Then: Château Montrose, 1962, Saint-Estèphe. The joy begins when you look at it: deep black eye, hardly any brown tones, beautiful reflections, vif and agile. What the eye promises is confirmed by the nose and especially the palate: powerful, almost still fat and yet playfully light, fresh. All this at over 40 years of age! According to the chief taster of the "Revue du Vin de France", Raoul Salama, a mature Cabernet Sauvignon cannot be better. And I have to agree with him.
|Programme: 50 years of great wine|
In the middle of this "celebrity" bursts the young lady from the Languedoc. Vintage 1998. She is not even the child of particularly old vines - these were only planted between 1983 and 1988. The winery has a good name, but is not yet dancing at the big balls. Wine connoisseurs have already encountered it, but often complain about the - for Languedoc - rather high price and its somewhat rustic style. Origin: the "Coteaux du Languedoc" appellation, the largest, most diverse and unspecific appellation in the region. The Domaine "Peyre Rose" is located on the "Plateau de Peyrals", northeast of Pézenas, about 200 m.a.s.l., where the sun burns but the winds (Mistral, Tranmontagne) also blow fiercely and the nights get cool.
The cuvée "Clos Syrah Léone" is one of the two "favourite children" of Marlène Soria, the winemaker on the still young estate (the other is called "Clos de Cistes", so it thrives on slate soil). "Syrah Léone" is not a sophisticated blend of grape varieties, but an "ordinary" Syrah, supplemented with about 5 percent "ordinary" Mourvèdre (two grape varieties that traditionally belong to the Languedoc). It is not aged in barriques, but rather matures for four years in fermentation tanks, only then is it bottled and put on the market in relatively small quantities.
|The "Cinderella" Domaine Peyre Rose% presented by winemaker Marlène Soria|
In Saint-Emilion, one would probably already speak of a "garage wine". At the tasting in the illustrious round, the "child from the south" can not only keep up, it is already vying for the queenly dignity with all of its
developed charms. To the eye: deep, almost black garnet red. For the nose: a faint hint of strong red berries, tobacco, laurel and cherries. For the palate: initially a little mineral, then increasingly spicy, very concentrated, juicy, woven into gentle, distinctive tannins. For the palate: a long finish in velvet and silk, soft, surrounded by oriental spices and tobacco notes.
For all those who have never met the youthful princess (I also met her in person for the first time), this description (taken from my brief notes) corresponds to a characterisation as it applies to many an excellent Syrah wine.
Much more important than the isolated description is the setting: are the other princesses among whom Cinderella has inconspicuously mingled. After her comes "Figeac", vintage 1986, Saint-Emilion: the wine has the beginnings of a mature Bordeaux, but is overall a disappointment. Then "De Beaucastel", Châteauxneuf-du-Pape, 1978: somewhat well-behaved, all too uniform, almost bodiless, but again this typical laurel tone. Not a disappointment: rather "well".
Again from the Rhone: Maison Jaboulet Aîné, "La Chapelle", 1970. Much more full-bodied than its predecessor, warm spices, delicate in the bouquet. But the memory of Cinderella lives on. So bring on the tougher competition! "Branaire-Ducru", Saint-Julien, 1959, almost 50 years matured! Much more lively, more present, livelier than the already somewhat fragile Figeac. Nevertheless, we did not fall in love.
|After the event: 120 half-empty glasses with the most exclusive wines.|
So, even "tougher" stuff: "Montrose", Saint-Estèphe, 1962. Black chocolate, slightly soapy, ageing spice. Certainly cannot be compared with a young wine, ageing caramel embedded in a strong structure.
structure, this can inspire! It inspires me too, and yet: what is the reason that I can't forget the "rose", perhaps the Cinderella's shoes?
Cinderella can't keep up yet, even though I flirted and danced with it over and over again for an evening.
Maturity, age, reputation, experience, dignity, uniqueness are set against what I would call modern beauty. Proof that a "great tasting" can become a unique, unforgettable experience even with not quite "great wines".