Sunday, 23 January 2011

CHATEAU RICARDELLLE, LA CLAPE

Another fine example of the development of new estates in La Clape. This was taken over by Bruno Pellegrini in 2000. There are 45 hectares of vineyardS and 70 hectares of garrigues, on the south side of the Massif of La Clape. Although the cellar is quite old fashioned, a large Midi barn, the technology has been modernised and the winemaker has trained at Bordeaux and worked elsewhere.

2009 Viognier, Vin de Pays d’Oc, Les Dames de Ricardelle – 5.95 €
I was not so taken with this, as I did not find that it had much varietal character and it was a tad unbalanced. The two white La Clape were SO much better.

2009 Combemale Blanc, la Clape – 7.50€
A blend of Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Picpoul and Vermentino. Fresh herbal notes on the nose, and a hint of fennel on the palate. Quite firm fruit, with a rounded finish.


2009 Vignelacroix, la Clape
– 11.00€
Mainly Bourboulenc, 70%, with 30% Grenache Blanc. Quite a firm salty note, from the maritime influence, as well as some hints of fennel, which are apparently quite characteristic of Bourboulenc. A salty, sappy palate, very refreshing; quite textured and medium weight. Very satisfying.


2008 Alencades Rouge Vin de Pays d’Oc
– 7.50€
Alencades is the name of the vineyard and it is planted with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Marselan, a newish crossing that has been developed from Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache Noir. Three hectares were planted at Ricardelle seven years ago. The wine is ripe and rounded on the palate, with some spice and a warm finish, but with a slightly stalky hint. Again I much preferred the appellation wines.

2008 Combemale, La Clape – 7.50€
A blend of Grenache, Carignan and Syrah. Deep colour. Quite firm leathery fruit on nose, and quite arounded ripe spice on the palate. You detect the ripeness of the Grenache, with some lovely ripe cherries and a streak of tannin. No oak – the wine spends nine months in stainless steel.

2008 Closablières, la Clape rouge – 10€
One third each of Grenache, Carignan and Syrah, aged for eight months in old wood. Quite a smoky nose, with the herbs of the garrigues. Rounded, ripe and sunny; attractive spicy fruit, with considerable length. This was my favourite red of the range.

2008 Blason de Ricardelle – 15.50€
65% Syrah, with some Carignan and a little Grenache. Aged half in new and half in old wood. Deep colour. Quite rounded oak on the nose. Quite a tannic palate with some firm fruit, though less obvious oak than on the nose. Some hints of tapenade and a touch of vanilla on the finish. Quite a rich long finish. Still very youthful.

2008 Cuvée Juliette – 25€
2004 was the first vintage of this, a very small crop. They make more in 2005, and none in 2006. And they said that 2010 will be superb, but they needed patience.
A blend of Syrah, Carignan, Grenache and Mourvèdre, aged in oak – one third new – for 12 months. Deep colour; firm dense oak on the nose, with some firm oak on the palate; tapenade and spice. Quite sweet and quite ripe, with supple tannins. Mouth filling.

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