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Domaine de L'Ausseil (France) La Capitelle 2001
This wine is a stunner. From a vineyard of 70-year-old Carignan grown on steep slopes at altitude in the Côtes du Roussillon, it is made by a very talented young winemaker called Jacques de Chancel. It has caused a bit of a sensation by picking up a coveted three stars in the Guide Hachette with its first vintage, and being awarded the even more prestigious "Coup de couer". It has a saturated crimson colour, and a soaring nose with lifted aromas of kirsch, raspberry and Morello cherry, underpinned by a luscious black fruit depth and rounded, gentle and harmonious vanilla. On the palate it has a thick, concentrated texture and fabulously sweet attack of ripe plum and bursting damson fruit. There is spice and integrated toasty oak notes, and a breadth of fine structure and bittersweet tannins. Lovely balance too, and really great length. Stockist Le-Midi also has a beautifully mineral, lemon peel and nutty apple-infused white made from the Mauzac grape from Domaine de Martinolles at £5.95 if you are thinking of making up a case.