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Domaine Roche-Audran (France) Visan 'Père Mayeux' 2003
Visan is one of the lesser known Côtes du Rhône Villages, and this producer is new to me, but a score of 89-91 from Robert Parker for this 60% Syrah, 40% Grenache cuvée has thrust winemaker Vincent Rochette to the fore. This has a very intense, quite smoky nose, with lots of kirsch-like notes, dramatically dark fruit and a very delicate touch of creamy oak. On the palate this is large-scaled and bold, with a huge core of black fruit that is edged with liquorice and spices, and has a really firm bite of black cherry skin acidity and finely-grained, but decisive tannins. It is a wine with plenty of power and concentration, yet the balance really is excellent, with a peppery, spicy character, underpinning oak and the quality of the fruit winning through into a long finish. Very impressive stuff. £10, wineandco.