Saturday 25 September 2010

Chateau Canet La Chapelle 2009

Chateau Canet is in the Carcassonne end of the Minervois, near the pretty little village of Rustiques. It is owned by a Dutch/New Zealand couple, Floris and Victoria Lemstra-Bake who previously spent 17 years in Burgundy working in the wine and tourism industry respectively. They have put their experiences there to good use at Canet where they have a collection of well appointed holiday cottages as well as the wine estate.

They have 45 hectares of vines and their newest release comes from their oldest plot of Grenache vines which lies on the site of the old 11th Century chapel - hence the name La Chapelle. It is the 2009 vintage so very young. It is deliberately not oak aged and bottled early to capture the grape's fruitiness. Hand harvesting and daily foot-treading says the back label (well the French bit anyway. Interestingly the French and English blurb on the back label are completely different!). Coupled with an extremely heavy bottle, this is clearly aiming to be a top notch product.

And, yes, it is pretty smart. Floris recommended decanting this. I didn't but I poured a generous tasting glass and kept going back to it over the afternoon which amounts to the same thing. The aromas took several hours to unfurl and are now very enticing with black cherry and raspberry notes. There is lots of generous, fleshy fruit on the palate. Again raspberry, hint of violet. Plum skin. Just a touch of a leathery character which will no doubt develop in bottle. There's a fair bit of tannin here but it's well balanced as there is so much fruit. This is a big wine - the label says 14.5% but I reckon it's closer to 15%.

Open a bottle of this on a cold winters evening when the fire is blazing. Drink with something slightly gamy such as pheasant or woodcock. Mushrooms will work too. Make sure you're not driving. And decant it. At least 2 hours in advance.

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