Thursday, March 15, 2018

Wine Review: Domaine de l'Étoile Banyuls Grand Cru 2000

March is Languedoc-Roussillon Month on!

Domaine de l'Étoile Banyuls Grand Cru 2000

This month I'm taking a tour of the Languedoc-Roussillon in southern France from the comfort of my own home! I've got ten wines from the region; six from Roussillon and four from Languedoc. As you probably know, it's been rather difficult to keep this blog going lately so these reviews will be short and sweet.

This is the second and final Banyuls that I'm reviewing this month, the first being Gérard Bertrand Banyuls 2013. Banyuls is an AOC on the slopes of the Catalan Pyrenees by the Mediterranean sea. The wine bearing its name is what the French call Vin Doux Naturel ("naturally sweet wine"), and Banyuls in particular is a Port-like red dessert wine from the Grenache grape variety. The wine is partially fermented and then cut off by the addition of grape brandy. This makes a sweet, raisiny, high-alcohol wine that I find to be just gorgeous.

I'm assuming l'Étoile is pronounced La Toil, like toil and trouble. You may have noticed that the vintage for this wine is 2000. It's almost Spring of 2018 so here we go with a 17-going-on-18-year-old Banyuls! I'm excited! Although sort of depressed because I was 20 when these grapes were harvested. Damn...

The ABV for this wine is 17% so it's no slouch. The color is brick red. On the nose there's aromas of chocolate covered raisins, black cherries, caramel, and dried tobacco. It's full bodied on the palate with a lush mouthfeel and ridiculously smooth tannin. There's flavors of a thick black cherry sauce, chocolate covered raisins, dates, and caramel. All of the flavors on the mid-palate seem to go on forever on the finish.

This bottle has aged to perfection. Soft and elegant, sweet and rich. Flawless. There is not even a tiny hint of harshness from the alcohol, or even a hint that it's fortified... well, until you've had a bit and start feeling tipsy faster than normal. For $30 it's worth going on the offense and start making some calls to see if you can get your hands on it. Because, man, it's stunning.

Price: $24
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)

The bottle used was supplied free of charge for the purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link.

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