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Borie de Maurel (France) Minervois "Spirit d'Automne" 1999
Minervois, in the deep south of France is where I spent most of my summer holiday, an area rich in history and dotted with Roman remains, including evidence of wine-making. But as an area its former reputation was for cheap, deeply coloured, but fierce and inelegant wines. In recent decades, the main culprit - the high yielding Carignan vine - has been largely replaced by the noble Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre, which give the wines of the southern Rhône such character. This is a lovely example, with fruit, suppleness and a bittersweet nose of chocolate and plum. On the palate it is full bodied and chewy textured with a depth of ripe plum and cherry fruit and a nice liquorice edge that combines with fine tannins to add a savoury complexity. A really well-made and impressive wine that would also cellar for a few years.
UK Stockist: Oddbins £5.99