The class system

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The creativity of some French wine-makers can be seen in the Vin du Pays classification. The strict prescriptions of Appellation Control wines leave little room for this creativity but the broader, lower classification lets growers express the terroir as they see fit. There are 154 such Vin du Pays in France and one of the largest is Bouches du Rhone where Domaine de Trevallon 2000 comes from. This wine, tasted blind, is quite remarkable and, needless to say, is difficult to place because of its individuality.

The deep colour made the wine opaque, the only obvious hue being a brown rim showing age. The bouquet was slightly blackcurrant but very subtle allied with some vegetal notes. Despite the obvious ageing, there was a sappy freshness to the aromas. This freshness also came across in the taste which, again, was vaguely blackcurrant as well as gently tannic, giving the wine a pleasing structure. Eminently quaffable, this red wine didn’t need food, its lightness (12.5%) having a refreshing quality.

The blackcurrant showed the presence of Cabernet Sauvignon, but not dominantly so, and it’s very difficult to place the other grape variety. This turned out to be Syrah in this 50/50 blend. My knowledge did not allow for the uniqueness of this wine, regarded by Tom Stevenson as “one of the greatest Vin du Pay, producing a quality easily equal to some of the best cru classes of Bordeaux”. Praise indeed – and echoed by Richard and me.

[Richard: another wine from Leon Stolarski, part of a mixed half case of Trévallon. About £36 and worth every penny. This was the oldest of the case – the rest need more time. Lovely wine and I wish I had some more.]





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