Although I used to drink a lot of wine from the Southern Rhône, it is a region I have turned away from in recent years, for various reasons. It’s good to catch up, and some primeur samples recently received and tasted have allowed me to do that.
To the best of my knowledge the 2011 vintage in the Rhône Valley followed a pattern very broadly similar to that in Bordeaux or the Loire, namely a warm spring, cool and disappointing summer, but then a long, warm benevolent autumn which allowed good ripening of the fruit before picking.
These two wines from Domaine de la Mordorée (pictured above) struck me as particularly good quality; they don’t have the turbo-charged sur-maturité that ruins many of the wines (to my palate), but instead have concentration allied with freshness.
Domaine de la Mordorée Reine de Bois Lirac 2011: Very deep, concentrated, slightly matt but certainly very convincing hue. An equal blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah, with little or no wood influence. The fruit is 100% destemmed, macerated for 34 days, with a maximum temperature of 34°C, followed by élevage in 30% oak and 70% enameled steel tank. It shows attractive and concentrated fruit on the nose, most importantly with freshness and definition; it is ripe, overt and confident, but not over-ripe. The fruit profile maintains a smoky definition. The palate follows on in the same vein, being full of concentrated fruit, but still fresh and defined, with a full and grippy substance. Dark in character, with concentrated berry fruits, tinged with liquorice, roasted plum skin too, there are a ripe seam of tannins showing through at the finish. A delicious stye, good value, with a good structure. 15.5-16.5/20 (April 2013)
Domaine de la Mordorée Reine de Bois Châteauneuf du Pape 2011: This blend is Grenache 80%, Mourvèdre 10%, Syrah 5%, Counoise 2.5% and Vaccarese 2.5%. Like the Lirac this is 100% destemmed and macerated with a controlled temperature. It is fermentated in cement, then into 30% oak and 70% enameled steel tank for the élevage. A very concentrated, vibrant, crimson rim to this wine. Dark smoky concentrated fruit, with berries and plum skins, but also licked by honeyed oak. The palate is polished, concentrated too, bringing a sense of cream to it. It is grippy, with savoury and slightly bitter substance, with fresh fruit character too. Overall this is a really attractive wine, fresh and also more-ish, with a long finish. Really enticing. 16-17/20 (April 2013)