Domaine de Trevallon, Vin de Pays (IGP) Des Bouches du Rhone, Bouches du Rhone, France, 1995
This domaine is about 10km east of St-Remy-de-Provence, on the north facing (hence the modest alcohol) foothills of the Alpilles, an east-west range of hills rising to 200m, with the Mediterranean to the south. There are 19ha of vineyard, 17 for red, 2 for white, on a very stony, limestone and clay soil. The inclusion of 50% cabernet sauvignon in the blend means contemporary vintages are labelled IGP.
Farr Vintners have a useful tasting snapshot, dated July 2013, of a red vertical covering 1982-2009. Brettanomyces lends the farmyard, gamey notes; and syrah tends, with age, to add bloody raw meat nuances.
This wine: A 50: 50 blend of cabernet sauvignon and syrah. No destemming, no added yeast, no added sulphur, aged for 20 months in 4500l oak foudre and 225l barrels, fined with egg white, no filtration before bottling. Natural long cork closure, 13% abv, Gauntleys, £66.55 (2015)
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, deep intensity garnet, showing tears; cork showing minor wine travel at the sides, with the cork remaining below the bottle mouth.
Nose: clean on the nose, pronounced intensity, fully developed, with aromas as they come, of a whiff of sulphur, slightly high-toned, farmyard, warm well hung slightly rancid raw steak, gamey, damp hummus, leather, sage, stewed very over-ripe dark berries, rich dark tobacco, dried black cherry, a background woody note. Dropped in a clean copper coin, came out brilliant, so some sulphurous elements were neutralised.
Palate: a dry wine, medium (+) acidity, ripe medium (+) drying tannins, medium (+) alcohol, medium (+) body, a smooth texture, medium (+) intensity, with rich flavours of very over-ripe black cherry and currant, raisin and dried currant, gamey, leathery, stewed over-ripe red and black berries, cedar. A long length with a complex clean finish, with quite drying tannins and a slight bitterness on the end.
Quality: a very good quality fully developed wine, showing well-balanced acidity with alcohol, tannins though ripe are quite drying. Brettanomyces is a feature of this wine, adding complexity, with farm, animal and gamey notes, and contributing to the drying finish. An intensely flavoured wine with a predominantly tertiary character, with good concentration showing in the long length, which is marred by the quite drying tannins, hence very good instead of outstanding.
Readiness for drinking/potential for ageing: drink now, not suitable for further ageing, but will hold for 2-5 years.