Sunday, October 03, 2010

Chateau Maurel Fonsalade Cuvee Frederic 2004, St Chinian

I last tasted this wine on holiday around St. Chinian back in 2006 and so four years later I've opened the single bottle that I brought back to see how it was getting along. I had a bottle of another wine bought on the same holiday a couple of months ago and to be perfectly honest it had dried up and not fared at all well - and originally it was a more expensive wine than this so I was pretty unsure what it would have done - although it relies on a lot less Carignan than that wine and instead is more of a Rhone style blend of Syrah and Grenache. On opening the wine immediately was a lot more showy and full of deep fruit, and hour or so later and the wine was really beginning to sing. I don't think it's going to get any better, in fact it is almost certainly at it's peak and much longer it'll start to lost some of the depth of fruit that it's got at the moment.
And despite the fact that this is a wine with some pretty serious styling, and is a lot of money for your buck, it's almost impossible to get hold of - in fact I would imagine Lafite '82 or a top Romanee Conti is probably easier to find than this - nowhere in the UK is currently selling the wine. I did get a bit on an insight into why on visiting the domaine (calling it a Chateau is perhaps a little grand!) the proprietor's father complained that they could not compete with Australian wine in the UK market - it was too cheap! Of course that supposes that they ought to be trying to compete with inexpensive mass produced, branded wines - this is so much better that it has to be worth the premium on the UK market. In fact the 8 Euro I paid for a bottle seems very cheap indeed - purely in wine terms I would imagine that you could sell this happily around £12 a bottle so there is an opportunity - in fact if you are a UK merchant or importer is there a reason you don't sell these wines?

On the nose the wine has rich aromas of fresh tobacco and deep damson fruit that develops on the palate to show a little mineral character, some real intensity of deep black cherry and licorice with some terrific length. Drink now or in the next six months. (92/100) 3.10.10

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