Illicit Behavior by Sud de France
"Angel by day, devil by night!" screamed the tabloid headlines. Apparently, Sud de France has fallen into its old ways with its reds. Boring, insipid wines that lack intrigue, or even basic balance, have started to show up at the tastings. There seems to be a blasé attitude towards creating anything worthwhile, even though the potential is there.
The third tasting event for Sud de France yielded uneven results. While the region has been known to experiment with grapes and blends, showcasing its cowboy spirit, a couple of the bottles seemed to show disregard for fundamentals of quality winemaking:
Felines Jourdan Picpoul de Pinet 2011 (approx. $15)
Like the Picpoul at the last event, this one showcased the same floral notes and apricot on the nose. On the palate, ripe peach joined the apricot in the orchard, along with some lemon peel and slate-y minerality. The salty essence that was so striking in the other Picpoul was very muted here, but it was still zingy and acidic.
Barons de Rothschild Lafite Val de L'ours, Chardonnay, 2011 (approx. $11)
Hooray! Another decent Chardonnay option. Not quite as complex as Burgundy, this wine nonetheless gave Chard a little more street cred. Lemon and lime were immediately present on the nose and the palate, along with very ripe golden delicious apple. There was a decent amount of stone and minerals on this wine to bring it back from the fruit side but had a round-ish mouthfeel, despite the fairly high acid.
La Roche de la Chevaliere Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011 (approx. $12)
And then, SdF fell off the wagon. Raspberry, blueberry and blackberry coupled with green bell pepper and wet soil on the nose, but the palate was thin and flat and the fruit was marred by a stemmy, underripe green note. It was all out of whack and felt almost like an identity crisis - what cab sauv tastes like this?
In theory, I understood how this should have worked. Pinot's plum and prune fruits could have given a plush, rounded feel to the peppery edge of the Syrah and as both wines are rooted with soil characteristics, it could have led to a rich, luscious wine. However, what it gave was a medium minus body that didn't deliver on the potential complexity. It was thin, tight and high-pitched.
Keep tasting, friends....