Mas Sibert, Armelot, Vin de France (Fos, Herault, Languedoc), 2016
On Vin de France (VdF)
VdF, since 2010 replacing the Vin de Table category, is not only the entry quality level for French wine, but can also be a source of unique and expensive cuvees. This is because of its loose regulatory framework, which permits innovation and experiment, on a par with new world producers, allowing another way to compete. Grapes can be sourced from anywhere within France. On the label, vintage and grape variet(ies) statements are optional, but neither region nor appellation are permitted.
This wine: lot No. none, a single bottling run; unregistered biodynamic, a blend of merlot with petit verdot; vinified in concrete vat and aged for 10 months in stainless steel; unfined and unfiltered, coated natural cork closure, 13% abv, ex-producer, €11 (02/19)
Consumer tasting note: tangy opening aromas of pine, menthol and rhubarb, then red berries morphing to richer warmer black cherry and liquorice; medium bodied, fresh with fine grained tannins, and a palate echoing the nose, with raspberry and just a touch of cedar. Finishes long.
Drink now – RTD, and will improve over 2-3 years – Wait. No need to decant.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, medium intensity ruby, showing tears [a tiny quantity of fine soft sediment].
Nose: clean, medium (+) intensity, developing, with aromas as they come, of crushed rhubarb, pine edged with menthol, spicy, red currant, cranberry juice, a hint of steak fat, a hint of warm candle wax, the merest touch of farmyard/brett, a hint of black cherry, warm black liquorice.
Palate: dry, medium (+) acidity, ripe medium tannins, medium alcohol, medium body, medium (+) intensity, a smooth texture, with flavours of raspberry, blackberry, hint of pine, cranberry juice, a hint of black cherry, hint of cedar. A long length with a clean fresh finish of black fruits, with a hint of cedar on the end.
Quality: very good, well balanced fresh acidity and ripe fine grained tannins with alcohol, altogether harmonious; quite strong intensity throughout with slightly lesser concentration; showing a better than moderate developing complexity, with evidence of time in bottle (cedar, steak fat), with just an edge of brett contributing another dimension. Finishes long.
Drinking readiness/ageing potential: can drink now, but has potential for further ageing, over say 2-3 years – a sound acid-tannin structure, lots of intensity, concentration a touch lacking, but with primary fruit to work with, and an interesting developing complexity, leading to a long length.