I had a brief tasting today at Tavern with the rep from the French wine import company, Robert Kacher Selections. No matter how great a rep's portfolio is, I often dread having these wine tasting appointments. This may sound crazy because, let's face it, being paid to taste wine is not a bad thing. My problem is that I don't always like what they bring me and I feel bad not ordering anything after tasting through many hundreds of dollars worth of wine samples. I know intellectually that this is all part of the deal for them, but I still just feel bad about it. So of course, going in to this tasting, I felt this same sense of dread coming on. What would I do if I didn't like the wines? What would I say? What if I don't order anything from him? Fortunately enough, I didn't need to answer those questions today.
One after another, all of the wines I tasted were right up my alley. The standout was the 2008 Mas Carlot, Costières de Nimes, "Les Enfants Terrible" made from 50% Mourvedre and 50% Syrah. Mas Carlot is made by Nathalie Blanc-Mares whose husband happens to make wine at the neighboring Mas des Bressades, making the area a real family affair. The name of this wine has as much to do with their gaggle of crazy children as it does her hectares of low-yielding, old vines, all of which seem to need taming. I'm not sure what she does with her children, but in terms of the vines, she does this through harvesting late for maximum ripeness and by aging the wine in barrel for a year or more.
What I love about this wine is how its aromas and palate of deep blueberries and black fruits are contained by the wine's architectural tannins. Notes of ripe, plummy fruit and roasted meat mingle with hints of baking spices and cocoa making for a wine of great complexity and balance. While this is definitely an intense, concentrated wine, it remains elegant nonetheless. This is a wine that will appeal to the fruit lover and tannin junkie alike.
Even better though, is its incredibly reasonable price, about $30 on the wine list at Lucques. Not so terrible.