jamie goode's wine blog: Trevallon 2000: the real deal

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Trevallon 2000: the real deal

Space on this blog is limited. I usually post just once a day, which means only a certain number of wines can get a look-in each year. It's for this reason that I'd like to apologise if you feel I have got the balance wrong: perhaps for not including enough of the truly worthy wines, instead giving too much space to slightly spoofy, commercial wines that are more widely available. In my defence, it's a difficult line to tread...

Well here's a wine that, for me, is the real deal. If you gave it to a new world winemaker, blind, then I suspect they'd probably give you a list of perceived faults, and I don't think they'd like it. And this would be a wrong assessment of this wine, in my opinion. It's Trevallon 2000. It rocks.

Domaine de Trevallon 2000 Vin de Pays des Bouches du Rhone
Dark, intense, savoury and spicy on the nose, with an earthy, slightly medicinal whiff at the edges. It's complex and thought provoking. The palate is concentrated, earthy and spicy, with a firm, almost impenetrable spicy structure, giving it a very dry, savoury mouthfeel. There's some blackcurranty fruit here, but this is not a fruit-dominated wine. It's like a really good Bandol in character, with great depth and plenty of potential for long ageing. And it's only 12.5% alcohol. 94/100 (24.95 Yapp)

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At 7:48 PM, Blogger Claude Vaillancourt said...

Hi Jamie,

Reading your description of the wine made me think that this is another example of a wine from southern France under the influence of Brettanomyces yeasts.

At 10:10 AM, Anonymous Keith Prothero said...

Ho ho--Now now Jamie,I love Trevallon and indeed many other wines from this area,especially Bandol.
But why or why7 do you think new world winemakers would not like the wine,if tasted blind? Do you think most Italian,French,Spanish whatever would like it ?
I wonder if people you know like Marc Kent,Chris Williams etc etc would appreciate your comment.I know my winemaker/partner Chris Mullineux would not. He has worked in Bandol and appreciates such wine as much as you and I do.

At 7:46 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Claude, yes I suspect there is some brettanomyces here, but if there is, this is one of the occasions where it works in the context of the wine.

I didn't intend to insult new world winemakers, and your point is well made that Marc, Chris and Chris have travelled and tasted, and have a broad, informed outlook. It was a careless generalization, I admit.

At 11:29 PM, Anonymous Doug said...

Although Trevallon has lovely Provencale garrigue notes I think of it as stylistically different to Bandol and very much reflective of the distinctive terroir of Les Baux. For starters the blend of Trevallon is 50% Cabernet and 50% Syrah; these are more aromatic varieties than the fierce, alcoholic, late-ripening Mourvedre that dominates the wines of Bandol. Secondly, Durrbach ages the wines in foudres - the gentle use of oak allows for the development of interesting secondary aromatics. Bandol producers, by and large, use smaller barrels which yield a noticable oak influence. Then there is the matter of alcohol: in a hot year Bandol can hit 15% whereas Trevallon is fairly consistent in the 12.5-13% range.

Trevallon represents natural, organic winemaking. I suspect that the Durrbachs would deprecate the expression "winemaking". Trevallon's occasional funkiness, its variations from vintage to vintage, its flaws (if flaws they be) are what make it a living wine. Today (for research purposes) I tasted about a dozen Australian wines from premium estates. To my palate every one of them was faulty in some fashion: either rank with reduction, or suffering from abusive oak regimes or tainted by obvious acidification. I doubt the winemakers from the respective estates would view these criticisms as faults since they are technical adjustments to the wine. Such elaboration is not merely a New World mentality, but part of a global desire to slap on the maquillage as if wine doesn't have sufficient integrity to stand on its own. Unfortunately, these are the wines that seem to win trophies at the international competitions and set the so-called standard for the next generation of winemakers.

True wine lovers are not tribal and adore wines because they taste real. Trevallon has never courted fashion or tried to be anything other than it is - as you say "the real deal".

At 1:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Doug,

Thats an interesting observation on the Australian wines. Which wines are you referring to? I'm Australian, and have no problem with you finding fault with these 12 wines or any other for that matter, but to throw a blanket of fault over them all does create the perception that all Aust wines are crap. You are obviously an enthusiast or in the trade, and given the knowledge that you have it would be more honourable to name the individual wines than to disparage a whole genre.

At 6:51 AM, Anonymous bare foot wine said...

I'm just passing by in this wine blog and I enjoy reading this articles and so happen that you featured the Trevallon and I agree with keith prothero. Thanks for sharing.

At 8:19 AM, Anonymous Doug said...

Hi Anon,

I should have made clear that since I am in the trade and since I was expected to give my considered opinion of the samples in question to the growers who sent them I could hardly name the estates on the blog. The wines I tasted happened to be Australian; the point I was making is that they reflect a global trend of overelaborated wine-making wherein too many interventions in the winery create a wine that is all superficies. I was not having a pop at Australian wines in general, but at bad winemaking which exists in Australia just as it does throughout the world. However, I was rhetorically musing whether what I considered to be faults - heavy sulphuring, high oak toasting, obvious acidification and heavy filtration - are actually perceived by the winemakers as beneficial to their wines. To me the wines tasted unnatural, as if they had undergone profound plastic surgery.

At 2:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You see, I think exactly the opposite is the case. A far more credible case (for both you and the wines in question) could have been put by detailing the wines in question and their respective faults. It would be a mark of your skill and knowledge as a writer/critic to define the faults you identified in the specific wines and allow that judgement to be examined.

Again, it doesn't matter that the comments applied to Aust/SA/Chilean or whatever, but blanket statements such as "every one of the wines was faulty in some fashion" seem a bit gratuitous in light of the current fashion of beating up on Australian wine in the UK.

At 3:58 PM, Anonymous mambo said...

For what it's worth Anon, I think Doug has lost the plot here by straining after meaning. It's clear that Doug needs to 'get the wine' he drinks but it appears as though the wine gets him instead.

At 9:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jamie ecrit"....., instead giving too much space to slightly spoofy, commercial wines that are more widely available."
So who butters your bread?

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