Camp de l'Illo Côtes du Roussillon 2006
This week's wine comes from Trevor Robinson, and it's not the first time this name has cropped up on Winedoctor. It was perhaps a year ago that I had the opportunity to taste his work in the shape of La Brugière, a Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes from the 2005 vintage, produced with advice from Guy Predal. There's a tasting note for that wine in my Roussillon tasting notes archive. Predal is of course another familiar name, and it often crops up in association with Pascal Verhaeghe of Domaine Marcevol and Château du Cédre. Indeed, when it comes to this week's wine (as well as the 2005 La Brugière), the label reveals Predal-Verhaeghe to be the place of bottling, and I suppose from this many would assume they also made the wine.
Of course, we know the real story; although sold through Predal-Verhaeghe, this wine was made by Robinson. Whereas La Brugière (the name originating from one of Robinson's plots of vines) was 100% Carignan, in the ensuing vintage he decided to blend his entire harvest, producing a wine which is roughly one-third Carignan, Grenache and Syrah, although the first of these three varieties does still dominate. With this blend the wine was eligible for the Côtes du Roussillon appellation, and to distinguish it from La Brugière it has been bottled as Camp de l'Illo, the name coming from another of Robinson's vineyards. The Carignan and Grenache were fermented without undue incident, although the Syrah underwent only a short maceration because of concerns over fruit maturity; having said that, this component did reach 15% once finished (the assembled wine is 14.5%). The wine spent 18 months in used barrels, sourced from a Margaux property, and has thus, at the time of writing, not long been bottled.
And so onto the wine, the 2006 Camp de l'Illo. In the glass it has a lovely dark but youthful crimson-black hue. On the nose, it is fairly tightly drawn in at first, giving the suggestion of sun-baked stones, but with a little time it relaxes, showing some solid fruit. In a similar vein the palate starts off lean and fresh, fattening up later, although it never loses that crisp and attractive definition. It has a broad and savoury substance, with ripe and well-rounded fruit, well matched by good grip and acidity. Overall I find this wine to have a charming composition, with a gorgeous touch of sweetness to the fruit, and good substance in the mouth too, culminating in a peppered finish. This will improve in the cellar in the short term. Very good. 16.5+/20
Despite having made such an attractive wine, Trevor Robinson still feels he hasn't fully explored what his vineyards are capable of, particularly with Syrah. I can only look forward to tasting future vintages, as if they improve on this attractive effort then they will be very worthwhile wines indeed. Unfortunately, tracking this wine down may prove very difficult; La Brugière sold out exclusively in France, and without an interested importer I doubt this wine will make it into the UK either. (26/1/09)