Sunday, September 04, 2011

2009 Domaine La Manarine CÔTES DU RHÔNE (France)

This is an extraordinarily elegant and balanced wine, particularly from such a "lowly" appellation.  Excellent!  A bit more expensive than most Côtes du Rhônes, but worth every penny.

Clear dark ruby with garnet highlights.  Very pure nose of spicy blackberry, lightly roasted dried herbs, stony minerals, and a wisp of fragrant smoke.  Very soft, mouthfilling flavors, yet with a light mouthfeel.  Lots of herb/iodine-inflected dark berry fruit, followed by a clingy finish gradually revealing quite a bit of very soft tannin as the minerally notes fade away to show the structure underneath.  Couldn't stop sniffing and sipping this one.  A.  Was $18.99 at Houston Wine Merchant on South Shepherd.  Imported by Neal Rosenthal.

(Sorry:  2004 label depicted)

PS:  Some Internet research reveals that ubiquitous Rhône consultant Phillipe Cambie lists this estate as one of the estates he consults on.  I have criticized the growing use of Cambie before as a homogenizing force in the region (as other celebrity consultants are in other regions), but I have to admit, this is a really nice wine.  I will have to put aside my predispositions/prejudices and give the guy's wines a fresh assessment.

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