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Les Baux-de-Provence 2005, Château Romanin ($29.95, 10273361)
Like all Baux-de-Provence estates, Romanin is biodynamic. A blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Mourvèdre (proportions unspecified by the estate or agent; says 30-30-20-10). The grapes are sorted, destemmed and crushed. Fermentation and maceration take place in stainless steel and wood vats, involve daily punch-downs and pump-overs and last ten to 21 days. Maturation is in similar vessels. 13% ABV.
Deep and alluring bouquet of sweet blackberry and plum with hints of turned earth, terracotta, tree bark, strawberry, garrigue. There’s also a Bordeaux-ish cassis and graphite thing going on. Dense yet fluid on the palate. Shot through with dark minerals and brightened by high acidity, the ripe fruit soon loses its sweetness and gets lost in the formidable structure. The tannins appear soft and resolved at first but assert themselves on the long, astringent, drying finish. Lingering aftertaste of tobacco and licorice. Austere and even a little forbidding, this softened and sweetened some with exposure to air, so carafing an hour beforehand is probably a good idea. And maybe that’s a sign it will benefit from a few more years in the cellar. Still, it doesn’t quite come together in the way you expect a $30 bottle to. Not bad but, relative to earlier vintages, a disappointment. A hunk of red meat (think roasted leg of lamb à la provençale) will show it in the best possible light.

Written by carswell

April 9, 2013 at 11:43

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