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Domaine de la Charmoise Vinifera Cot 2004

Domaine de la Charmoise Vinifera Cot 2004After last week's Chinon from Philippe Alliet, this week I am looking at another red wine from the Loire, but not from one of the famous appellations this time. Outside the better known appellations of Chinon and Bourgueil, Saumur and not forgetting Sancerre of course, there are a number of domaines producing very good red wines. Many of these are to be found in Anjou, an appellation long dismissed as a producer of generic wines of little interest, but in fact it is home to some of the most exciting reds and whites of the entire valley. There are, however, some equally good wines to be found further upstream, in the Touraine appellation, which is also often seen as a region for generic quaffing wines. But one or two producers buck the trend, and Henri Marionnet at Domaine de la Charmoise is one such producer. Here he works predominantly with Sauvignon Blanc, Gamay and Cot (otherwise known as Malbec), all varieties very typical of the Loire, and he turns out a fine range of fresh, flavoursome wines which challenge many from grander appellations on the basis of sheer drinkability.

This particular wine is one of Henri Marionnet's Vinifera cuvées, which are all produced from ungrafted vines. This is the 2004 Cot, which has a remarkably intense, deep, opaque colour when poured into the glass. Initially it seemed sweet and a touch soapy on the nose, but I am glad to say this latter characteristic dissipated, the aromas melding into an array of sweet, smoky, perfumed, cigar and charcoal tones. Deep, crunchy, highly aromatic fruit in abundance on the palate, which is fresh, lean but attractive, with a nice, firm tannic grip (and piles of it too), with good flavour. Not a rich or fleshy style, rather sappy, like sucking cherry stones and plum skins. Smoky, with a little leafy greenness, which in low quantities as it is here I can find attractive. A tannic finish. This is reminiscent of a very good quality Saumur-Champigny; it has that savoury, sappy, juicy, mouth-watering dryness, but is absolutely packed with flavour. Very good indeed. 17/20 (4/6/07)

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