Domaine Isabel Ferrando, Colombis, AOC/AOP Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhone (Vaucluse), France 2006
Chateauneuf-du-Pape is the driest region in the Rhone Valley. Soils vary, influenced by the varying path of the Rhone over time, with sand, gravel, limestone and clay. Notably, to the north and north-east, the vineyard is covered with large stones – galets, hazardous to any vineyard work, but which re-radiate absorbed daylight heat during the night. Up to 13 varieties are permitted in this appellation, with some whites potentially available to add acidity to red blends. The main red varieties in order of importance, are grenache, syrah, mourvedre and cinsault, also counoise, vaccarese, terret noir and muscardin.
Appellation typicity: velvety, rounded, ripeness, pepperiness, warmth (from high alcohol).
Grenache noir has a strong upright structure ideal as bush vines to withstand the strong northerly Mistral.
This wine: varietal grenache, from 60+ y.o. vines, on clay and sandy soils, aged 18 months in unspecified oak, natural cork closure, 15%, £35, Gauntleys.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance – clear and bright, medium intensity garnet, showing distinct tears.
Nose – clean on the nose, with a pronounced intensity, developing, with aromas of sweet ripe red cherry, kirsch, black berry and black cherry, strawberry and red cherry jams, black pepper, liquorice, sweet spice – vanilla, cinnamon and clove, stewed cherry, leather, tobacco, sun-dried red pepper, and a meaty note, which is immediately quite strong, but diminishes over 5-10 minutes.
Palate – a dry wine, with medium (+) acidity, smooth fine-grained well-integrated medium tannins, high alcohol, medium bodied, with medium (+) intensity, a sweetness on the mid-palate and a velvety texture, with flavours of stewed red cherry and strawberry, red currant, kirsch, black berry, sweet warm black liquorice and sweet spice – vanilla and cinnamon. A long length with a clean ripe red fruit lightly grippy finish.
Quality – an outstanding quality wine, with perfect balancing acidity with fruit, supported by modest smooth velvety well-integrated tannins, with a long lingering spicy red fruit finish. A good level of intensity, with good concentration and a high level of complexity, with well-defined fruit, secondary spicy notes, and tertiary development with meaty, tobacco and leathery notes.
Readiness for drinking/potential for ageing: ready to drink now, but has the potential for ageing. This wine has perfect balance, and an acid-tannin structure and concentration of flavour, and long length, to suggest further development and improvement, over the next 3-5 years.