Sunday, 8 June 2014

Chateau Ricardelle La Clape 2009, Cuvée Juliette 2009 - "Prepare the hounds"

Love the label
If you like big punchy but complex reds, there's plenty of Australian wines out there that meet that requirement, apparently. I just haven't had many of them yet. 
The key word is complex. I've found plenty of big Aussie reds, and even bigger South African ones, but I do find them a bit one dimensional. Sorry. 
I've clearly not had the right ones (although I did have some of Vergelegen's best and was not that wowed at the time) 
So I tend to stick to French reds, and the odd Southern Italian too. You just cannot beat either region for value. 
In the eponymous Wine Bar in Prague recently (here's a few photos of the place ) I discovered yet another Languedoc wine that I knew/know little about. 
This Chateau Ricardelle La Clape 2009 is a great example of a powerful, aromatic, silky yet complex modern red from this under rated region. Family owned, according to this site. 
The vineyard is very close to the sea near Narbonne in the far south of France, an area I visited last summer when I had a look at Gerard Bertrand's L'Hospitalet
Here's a post on that particular visit from September 2013.
The Cuvée Juliette 2009 which I tried in Prague is, according to the bar manager who knows the Chateau personally, named after the wine maker's daughter. 
The label is fantastic, good to see a Chateau with some imagination and creativity. 
The wines are very reasonably priced too. This exact wine is hard to track down but the others from Ricardelle seem to be under £15, even from BBR.
The Cuvée Juliette 2009 is a mix of Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, and Mourvèdre, a blend common in this area, and is aged in French barriques for 12 months. My tasting notes are here:
Huge, smooth, dark berry cassis, and chocolaty flavours, 14.5% alcohol but slips onto the palate and has a finish like rich velvety silk. Alcohol taken to its limits but balanced given the huge fruit. Has a complexity that some 'Parkerised' wines lack. A man's wine (generally speaking!), no doubt.
Despite the high alcohol levels (unavoidable this far south it seems) it went wonderfully with the utterly superb beef bourguignon in Prague's Wine Bar (linked above and well worth a visit), and pictured below. Both wine and wine bar are well worth a visit if in Prague or Southern France.

The simply named "Wine Bar" in Prague does superb nosh

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