jamie goode's wine blog

Saturday, January 10, 2009

An amazing fortified Tannat

I think it's a bit stupid to eat chocolate and drink wine at the same time, but if you really, really want to match chocolate with wine, this is the one to choose.

It's a remarkable Tannat from the Madiran region that's had its fermentation arrested by the addition of spirit, similarly to the way that Port is made. This leaves it sweet and alcoholic (17.5%). It's brilliant stuff, quite different to Port, but complex and tasty.

Domaine Berthoumieu Tanatis Vin de Liquer NV, Southwest France
Really interesting sweet, spicy, earthy blackfruits nose. The palate is dense and spicy with lovely pure sweet blackberry fruit and some pepperiness, as well as firm tannins that mesh well with the sweetness. There are subtle hints of mint and medicine in the background, too. Delicious and unusual. 92/100 (Les Caves de Pyrene)

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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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