Friday, July 8, 2011

2nd Label Rhone Varieties

In a recent post, I commented on the benefit or otherwise of buying second labels of well respected winemakers. Following are three wines which offer really good value, in my view.

The 2009 Wynns Coonawarra Shiraz is, strictly speaking, not a second label, but it stands in the shadow of the Cabernet Sauvignon. Wynns has worked hard on improving its viticulture over the last few years, and this wine, from an excellent vintage, shows the continued Coonawarra revival. This wine has good depth of fruit, mainly in the plum and black cherry spectrum. The structure is good and the mouthfeel has an attractive velvety touch. You would not say this wine is overly elegant or complex, but for the price you get quite a lot. I am impressed with the quality of such a high volume wine.

Score: 90/++

The 2008 d'Arenberg Footbolt Shiraz is a true second label. This wine has good fruit as well, with earthy and minty characters. There are firm dry tannins, but the finish is a little harsh.

Score: 88/+

The 2007 Guigal Cotes du Rhone is quite an amazing achievement. This high volume wine is made from grapes bought from dozens of growers and quality control must be hard. Yet it displays great depth of fruit, with the Grenache and Shiraz components blending well together. The mouthfeel is very smooth, and while this wine is not very complex, it has quite silky tannins, unusual for a wine in the $20-25 per bottle bracket. The winemaking skills shine through in this wine. It will keep well for 3-5 years at least. If you have never drunk this wine or scoffed at the commercial nature of it, this is the vintage to try.

Score: 91/++

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