2003 Domaine "La Garrigue" Côtes du Rhône Cuvée Romaine, $13.99, 13.5% alc.: Dark garnet, shading to pink at the rim, with an almost Ridge - like bubble gum, sweet oak red fruit bouquet which Kim describes as "almost floral." Deeper and darker on the palate, while maintaining overtones of what resembles American (?!) oak; black currants and black plums, with earth and leather underneath, but where's the garrigue? Nice, if atypical, and like nothing we've had from this producer before; well priced, but purists may not like it.
Imported by European Cellars Direct, New York, NY
2003 Château de Segries Côtes du Rhône, 13.5% alc.: Ruby garnet, with a smoky tinge, giving up red plums, red berries and black cherries on the restrained nose; flavors echo, with more raspberry, strawberry and hints of smoke and cola on a medium bodied frame. Fairly rich, not very tannic, and a nice enough finish. Pretty good for what's in the bottle, with what seems to be a fair amount of Grenache; not a big CdR, but a big improvement over the '02 model.
2003 Domaine de la Mordoree Côtes du Rhône, $13.99, 14% alc.: Deep, dark garnet, pink at the rim, with a red plum, black cherry, strawberry and rhubarb nose shaded with notes of wet dog fur and underbrush; these impressions follow through in the medium full bodied flavors with a solid earthy base, a little chocolate, a few years worth of tannins and more and more underbrush - garrigue as it opens. A step up in body and substance from the Segries, with a nice earthy finish, this is a solid CdR, and doesn't seem too ripe, despite the hot vintage.
2003 Grand Veneur Côtes du Rhône Reserve, 13.5% alc.: Dark garnet, pink at the rim, with plum, red berries, a subtle note of chocolate and a little wet dog fur on the nose; flavors echo and expand with a more refined personality than the other three from Kysela noted here, being not quite silky, but not chunky either. Rich, round and eminently drinkable, this medium full bodied CdR is good to go, now and for the next few years at least.
2003 Château de Segries Lirac Reservee, 13.5% alc.: Dark garnet, with a smoky tinge, and not giving much at all on the nose at first, but this is a wine that needs time to open and show what it has. With a few hours of air, what at first seemed a somewhat dull, clunky wine evolves to exhibit some real depth, with earthy dark plum, blackberry and black currant flavors and aromas that are accented with a little tobacco and underbrush. Medium tannins will take this at least a few years down the road, and bottle age should allow this to develop nicely. The best wine of these four from Kysela, for my tastes.
Château de Segries, Domaine de la Mordoree & Grand Veneur Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils, Ltd., Winchester, VA
2003 Saint Cosme Côtes du Rhône, $18.99, 13.5% alc.: This wine is a poster child for the "international" styled wines that are more and more coming out of southern France. A deep, dark garnet fading to translucent at the rim, it shows chocolate first and foremost, with plenty of plum and black cherry in support, along with bacon and a little garrigue in the background. Rich, very ripe and a little fat in the mouth, with a good dose of tannins and some astringency on the finish, this is definitely not typical CdR, although it IS in the same style as the '01 model. It seems to show the effects of the scorching vintage, and while I enjoy it for what it is, it's not what I want from the Rhône; I'll spend a buck more for something like the Domaine de la Tourade Gigondas.
Imported by The Stacole Company, Boca Raton, FL
- From Red Rhônes sans Red Wings
Reporting from Day-twah,