jamie goode's wine blog: Plenitude Madiran

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Plenitude Madiran

What was going through the minds of Les Producteurs Plaimont when they came up for the idea of one of their top cuvees, named 'Plenitude'. Now the Plaimont Coop are normally on top of their game. They are making some really nice wines from various southwestern appellations. But with Plenitude, which translates as fullness or abundance, they've whacked the volume knobs up to 11, and the result is kitsch wine in kitsch packaging.

Weighing in at 14% alcohol, this offers lots of everything. Yes, there's a bit of tannic Madiran bite (which I love), but this has been masked a bit by the abundant new oak that has been lavished on this wine. It's as if they've said, 'Australian wines are popular, so how can we make this wine taste Australian?' They don't need to do this.

Madiran is great, and so is the Tannat grape. There aren't many wines that taste like Madiran, so by trying to make your wine taste unlike Madiran, you are in danger of losing your USP. Be proud of the wines of the southwest France: in a world where wines are tasting worryingly similar, here's a wine that's a bit different. Tell the world about it. Don't apologise.

And then there is the packaging. What possessed them to go for the neo-viking plate metal look, topped off with some wax? It's absurd. Look, don't get me wrong: this isn't a bad wine. I don't mind it, although I find it hard to get past the oak. Perhaps in 3-5 years the oak will have been absorbed and it will enter a stage of mellow maturity. It's just that I reckon it could have been better. 14.99 from Bedales, Adnams and Grape Ideas.

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At 9:33 AM, Anonymous Doug said...

Hi Jamie,

You're dead right. Wines like this are part of a creeping homogenisation of wine, the paradigm of which is the over-ripe, super-extracted style you have here. The pleasurable point about south west wines is they are rustic with a certain amount of tension; they should have an earthy minerality; they should express the soil, the stone and the climate. This terroir is now being "locked up" in the winery through a variety of techniques, the aim instead to produce a lavish, luscious, polished wine. Wines like the Plenitude (pretentious name - gives me a kitch 'n' sinking feeling) illustrate the maxim that more is often less. We should indeed celebrate singularity not similarity.

At 9:59 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

Doug, you put it very well; you won't be surprised to find that I agree with you

At 6:56 PM, Blogger Jan-Tore Egge said...

While I myself would look for wines which are recognisably Madiran and am not keen on trying super-ripe, oaky wines, I find it less difficult to accept the production of such a wine by a big co-op like Producteurs Plaimont, which must have dozens of different bottlings, including several Madirans: it's only one of many, and they've always got something more traditional for those who want it.

At 11:18 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Fair point - Plaimont also make some wines that are more to my tastes - and it works for them, I'm sure, to have a broad portfolio of styles.

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