Domaine de L’Hortus, Grande Cuvee Rouge, AOC Pic Saint Loup, Herault, Occitanie, France, 2014
This wine: lot No. L16103 (below front label), bottle No. 17718; given the middling hue, probably a blend of grenache noir, syrah, and mourvedre; 6 months in vats before initial blending, then 12 months in 225 and 400 litre oak casks, new, or 2nd/3rd usage; coated natural cork closure, 14% abv, ex-producer, €21.85 (03/17)
Consumer tasting note: a GSM blend from Hortus, a top Pic Saint Loup producer. Strongly scented, quite complex, with notes of black berries, spice, black liquorice, cedar and dried herbs. Medium bodied, with notes of red plum and cherry, spicy and cedary, then black berries again and a savoury ending. Finishes long.
Drink now – RTD, but will improve a touch over 1-2 years – Wait. If consuming with food, decant for 30 minutes.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, medium intensity ruby, showing tears [no sediment].
Nose: clean, pronounced intensity, developing, with aromas as they come, of spicy red cherry jam tinged with creamy-lactic vanilla, low-key toast, touch of smoke, dried herbs, hint of pine, hint of cedar, ripe black cherry, hint of warm black liquorice, warm candle wax, hint of blackcurrant jam, just a touch savoury, the merest suggestion of cinnamon.
Palate: dry, medium (+) acidity, fine-grained medium tannins, medium (+) alcohol, medium body, medium (+) intensity, a smooth texture, with flavours of red plum, red cherry, black berry, a touch spicy, hint of cedar, hint of black liquorice, black currant boiled sweets, savoury, touch of beeswax. A long length with a clean finish of savoury and cedar-edged black berries.
Quality: very good, perfectly balanced fresh(ish) acidity and ripe silky moderate tannins with well-integrated alcohol, harmonious with the sound intensity and similar concentarteion; showing a much better than moderate complexity, with evidence of time in well-integrated oak (cedar, cinnamon, spice, smoke, vanilla) and bottle (cedar, savoury, wax), leading to a long length.
Drinking readiness/ageing potential: can drink now, but has potential for further ageing over 1-2 years – a sound acid-rounded tannin structure, well balanced, drinking well now, not far distant from fully developed, to leave a balance of primary fruit, secondary spice, and tertiary notes.