February 2nd 2009
One of our Cotes du Rhones from Eric Michel at Domaine Cros de la Mure has been selected as Old World Red Wine of the Month by Steven Spurrier in Decanter Magazine.
Eric is a classic low-key vigneron. His natural shyness can make him seem rather terse, but show a genuine interest for wine and he can be difficult to stop. His vines are situated high up in the massif d”˜Uchaux at 180 metres, planted on limestone / silicious soils with sand. He has a hectare of land in Gigondas and has recently fulfilled a life long ambition in securing a plot of Chateauneuf du Pape. For now he contents himself with making top class wines at the 11ha domaine he took over from his father, a former co-opérateur, in 1990.
Not all his neighbours agree with his distinctly minimalist approach to treating the vines. He starts picking when most people are turning their thoughts to pressing. The grapes are hand-harvested, only partly destalked and fermented and raised in concrete vats, with restrained use of pigeage -like Jean-Michel Vache at Clos de Cazaux, his view is that if the grapes are ripe enough then extraction techniques should not be needed.
This 60% Grenache, 25% syrah 10% Mouvedre, 5% cincault blend from low yielding 25 year Old Vines had great concentration depth and Vigour with a garriguey purity that out tastes many more expensive bottles.
While it is easy for these relatively simple wines to be overshadowed at tastings by grander bottles like Chateauneufs and Cote Roties, we also thought this was outstanding when we first tasted it in November.
We sold out of our original allocation but have fortunately procured some more. It’s a fantastic buy at only £69.00 per case Under Bond and will give much pleasure from 2010-2016