Friday, 16 May 2014

Tasting With Xavier Vignon

I got invited by Vinovativa to a tasting dinner with Xavier Vignon, an oenologist based in Rhone. He works with almost 200 domains besides managing a large laboratory.
Xavier was enthusiastic and very charming to talk with over dinner. A great evening - thanks!
We tasted the following.

2012 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, Xavier
This Roussanne, Clairette and Grenache Blanc blend offers up a young, fruity, spicy nose with notes of white currants, summer flowers, banana peel and eraser. Very floral. Upfront and fine. Very good.
The taste is cool, fresh and juicy with notes of white peaches, summer flowers and a hint of ginger. A good acidity. The finish trails of a bit. But this is drinking fine in the short term.
86p   (tasted 2014/05)

2012 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Cuvée Anonyme Blanc, Xavier
This is another creature altogether. Deeper, tighter and with a gorgeous yellow fruit. Fine notes of white currants, William pears, grilled lemons and a lovely salty note. Lots of minerals. Very, very good.
The taste is young, tight and intense with notes of white currants, sweet/sour lemons, a hint of liquorice and ginger. The finish is very long and complex. A gorgeous mouth feel. This I would love to drink again. Apparently the first vintage of this cuvee.
92p   (tasted 2014/05)

2011 Grenache Vieilles Vignes, Xavier
A friendly, easy going nose with notes of dark berries, spice, liquorice and some burned rubber. Not that deep but good in its forward way.
The taste is pure, gentle and fine with notes of blueberries, liquorice, earth and black pepper. A good warmth in the end of the rather short finish. This is ok for what it is and cost (9 Euro).
82p   (tasted 2014/05)

2010 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Xavier
A young, mute and a bit foursquare nose with notes of dried raspberries, garrigue, resin and dried flowers. Dried up raspberry jam after a while. Opens up a bit in the glass.
The taste is as mute as the nose with some notes of raspberries, blueberries, dry chocolate and resin. A medium long, warm finish. Good but in a closed stage?
85p   (tasted 2014/05)

2012 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Xavier
The younger version is much livelier and fresh with notes of sweet raspberries, liquorice, leather, rosemary and warm flowers. A fine meaty aroma in this one. Deep. This is good.
The taste is big, tight and intense with notes of raspberries, root vegetables, meat, resin and forest floor. A long, warm, juicy finish. Very, very good. Still very young of course. Really fine.
91p   (tasted 2014/05)

NV Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Réserve, Xavier
This beauty is a blend of three vintages - 2007 (43%), 2009 (21%) and 2010 (36%). The nose is profound with a stunning depth and concentration. Gorgeous notes of raspberry truffles, ripe blueberries, garrigue, expensive leather, veal stock and dried flowers. A old vine complexity. Very, very deep and refined. Great!
The taste is young, tight and focused with an array of red and black fruits alongside some notes of liquorice, resin, rosemary and leather. The finish goes on for over a minute. Very balanced. This is a very fine wine. Would love to have a couple of bottles to follow over the next 10-15 years.
94p   (tasted 2014/05)

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