Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

MWG March 20th tasting (3/7): Simoneized

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Trying to get a definitive answer as to which grape varieties in which proportions are used to make Château Simone’s wines is an exercise in frustration. Why this should be the case for such a renowned estate is anybody’s guess.

VDP des Bouches-du-Rhône 2011, Les Grands Carmes de Simone, Château Simone ($43.50, 11822430)
A blend of Clairette, Ugni Blanc and Viognier (80%, 10% and 10% respectively according to some) from vines averaging more than 30 years old. Manually harvested. Lightly crushed, partially destemmed, pressed in a vertical hydraulic press. Matured on the lees in small oak foudres. Clarified by settling and racking. 13.5% ABV.
Fresh and charming nose marked by candied lemon, peach, pineapple, floral and mineral scents. A rich yet fleet middleweight in the mouth. Fruity but dry, with acidity providing energy, minerals depth and a faint bitter undertow intrigue – all buoyantly sustained from entry to finish. Remarkable purity and balance for what is pitched as an easy-going early drinker. (Buy again? Yes but…*)

Palette 2010, Château Simone ($57.00, 11556266)
Clairette (80% by most accounts) with small amounts of Grenache Blanc and a dash of Ugni Blanc and/or Bourboulenc and/or Muscat Blanc from vines averaging more than 50 years old. Manually harvested. Lightly crushed, partially destemmed, pressed in a vertical hydraulic press, with the press cake broken up manually. Lightly clarified by settling. Fermented 15 to 20 days in small wooden vats at 20°C with indigenous yeasts. Does not undergo malolactic fermentation. Matured 18 months in 50- to 60-hectolitre oak foudres, six of which are on the lees (no stirring), and another year in casks. 13.5% ABV.
More serious and somewhat closed nose of fired minerals, flowers and dusty lemon with a whiff of pine resin. Light on entry but gaining dimension, including weight, as it progresses through the mouth. At all times complex, layered and evolving. The kaleidoscopic if subtle flavours include white peach, quince, linden and fennel. Deceptively smooth on the surface, it’s actually quite structured, even tense, underpinned by acidity and buttressed by minerals. The texture turns waxy on the long, vaporous, honey- and nut-inflected finish. Such finesse, depth and balance point to a certain ageing potential, though it’s plenty delicious now. (Buy again? Yes.)

*Delicious as the Grands Carmes was, most around the table felt that if you are going to push the boat out, you should push it all the way out and plunk down another $14 for the magnificent Palette.

Written by carswell

April 15, 2014 at 20:48

Posted in Tasting notes

Tagged with ,

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