Sunday, July 27, 2008

Domaine de l'Oratoire St Martin Côtes du Rhône Villages Cairanne Réserve des Seigneurs 2004

Cotes du Rhone Villages
14% alcohol

The little wooden guy is pleased to make a new friend.

The nose opens with definite minerality, red fruit cooled on a bed of cold crushed rocks. The fruit smells are light, cranberry and strawberry, the flowers and tobacco. It is a little closed immediately after opening.

"Oh my that's interesting!" That was my immediate thought when I tasted this wine. First, it was absolutely nothing like the nose. Strawberries and cola, licorice and tobacco, all meet on the attack. Mid-palate is dark cherries, pastry and vanilla, then it ends with sea salt and olives. This is really interesting. Tannins are clearly present but not drying, and fine. Finish is very long, and the after-taste continues to evolve just like the wine in your mouth.

Two hours later- The nose is still fairly closed, giving up mostly strawberry and mineral. If I smelled it blind I would guess pinot noir. Tannins are far more dominant now. Strawberries and cola are there, but more concentrated, darker, and black pepper has joined the band. Tobacco is more dominant on the midpalate and the licorice has entirely disappeared, with black pepper flowing throughout the wine's narrative. The end, also, is more tannic, a taste of strong black tea washing over the olives. I was wondering after the first try whether this would be too flabby, lacking in tannins, to last for any length of time. Now, though, a tannic backbone is not just making an appearance, but dominating. It should really be interesting to see what it does on night two.

Two more hours later- Now, for the first time, this smells like a southern Rhone wine. It has that barnyard bouquet I have come to expect, along with smoked meat, pepper and dark fruits. Dark fruit, pepper, orange peel, and meat make a mouth-filling palate. The tannins are smoother, silkier, but still firmly making themselves known, providing a strong foundation. Tobacco shows up on the midpalate, and the finish is still long.


Barnyard, licorice, and meat open the nose, but it quickly settles down into sweet caramel, vanilla and flowers. The nose is entirely different than NIGHT ONE. Blackberries and blackcurrants, then smoked meat and tobacco, finishing with firm tannins and unsweetened cranberries. The finish lingers, with a memory of cranberry and tobacco.

This is a very interesting wine, rapidly evolving and showing terrific complexity and depth, particularly for the price point, $27.

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