Prieure la Chaume, Orfeo, IGP Val de la Loire, Vendee, France, 2008
Prieure la Chaume is situated at Vix, inland and about 35km north-east of La Rochelle. It is the southernmost vineyard of the Loire and is about midway between the Loire and the Gironde. The vineyard is planted equally on south facing, west facing towards the Atlantic, and on the flat plateau. Soils are limestone based, of stony silty-clay. Certified organic, yields are low at 25-30hl/ha.
This wine: a merlot dominated blend, with 35% cabernet sauvignon and 5% negrette … hence the IGP label, no added yeast or enzymes, aged for 18 months in 4th fill ex-Burgundy barriques of Troncais oak, and bottled unfiltered; natural cork closure, 13% abv, Gauntleys £15.75 (2016)
Consumer tasting note: toasty black berries on the nose, with whiffs of chocolate and spice, follow into a rich flavoured palate of black fruits with spice stiffened by ripe, but not feeble tannins providing a good grip, with quite concentrated flavours panning into the long length and black berried finish.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, deep intensity ruby, showing tears.
Nose: clean, medium (+) intensity, developing, with aromas as they come, of toast, slightly lifted melange of ripe black fruits with a red berry edge, separating out to black berry, black cherry, some spice, sweet stewed red plum, black pepper, smoke, dark chocolate, cinnamon, liquorice, a little earthiness.
Palate: dry, medium (+) acidity, ripe medium (+) tannins, medium (+) alcohol and a medium (+) body, with a smooth texture, medium (+) intensity, with flavours of sweet ripe black currant, black cherry, black plum, red plum juice, toast, spice, liquorice, and a little earthiness, with a herbaceous touch on the finish. A long length with a clean black currant and cherry finish with a red berry edge.
Quality: a very good quality wine, acidity reinforces the ripe tannins a little, otherwise well balanced with intensity of flavour and alcohol. Showing decent flavour concentration, and complexity from oak and bottle ageing, with a tertiary dimension of stewed fruit, chocolate and earth. A long rich black berried finish.
Readiness for drinking/ageing potential: can drink now, has potential for development over say 2-3 years, with a good structure – the tannins should round out a little more, there is plenty of fruit concentration, and early signs of tertiary development.
Current vintages available ex-producer are 2006, 7, 8 and 9, so longevity is envisaged.