France - Limoux to Northern Rhone
Gregory Alken, Febvre & Company

Greg provided comprehensive notes which are available here - right-click to save.

1. Château Rives-Blanques Blanquette De Limoux, Jan & Caryl Panman, S France, 2002
Apple on the nose.  Nice, well-balanced, very pleasant. 90% Mauzac (taille gobelet - a hot climate pruning method), 10% Chardonnay/Chenin Blanc

2. Château Rives-Blanques Limoux ‘Dédicace’ AOC Limoux, Jan and Caryl Panman, S France, 2002
A note of coffee on the nose. Maybe I'm predisposed to get it because it says so in the notes but there is a definite hint of 'After 8' in the mouth. Very complex, well-balanced wine - one of the most interesting I've had. Super. 13%

3. Château Rives-Blanques Chardonnay, Cuvée De L’odyssée, Jan and Caryl Panman, S France, 2004
Light yellow. Ripe fruit and a hint of lime.  In the mouth, pineapple and vanilla. A very good Chardonnay; a bit New World.8% new oak; 14% alc.

4. Château Mas Neuf Cuvée Traditionelle, 
Château Mas Neuf, 2005

Spicy, warm nose, improving in the glass. Much more fresh and well-behaved than the nose would have you believe; decent grip; a really decent wine at a decent price. 13.5% (It's on the list in Les Frères Jacques in Dublin and I can vouch for it with leg and shank of lamb in osso bucco style sauce.)

5. Château Mas Neuf Cuvée Compostelle, Appellation Costières de Nîmes, Château Mas Neuf, 2002
Quite dark, crystal clear. Heavier nose than the Cuvée Traditionelle, herbs of the garrigue; very good fruit, not the least bit jammy. Excellent.

6. Saint-Joseph Les Challeys, Delas Fréres, 2004
Darker than I expected. Some oak, light and pleasant nose. Big, mouth-filling, smooth, fruity, good grip and slight burn.  A great wine; much better than Guigal, my standard for St.-Joseph

7. Châteauneuf-du-Pape Domaine Duclaux, Jérôme Quiot, Châteauneuf-Du-Pape, 2004
Strangely light coloured, leggy. Nice, fruit gums nose. Lovely fruit, good acid, light grip - the 14.5% alcohol doesn't show. Incredibly fresh, beautifully balanced, modern rather than traditional, gorgeous.  Break out the piggybank.

8. Château Mas Neuf Armonia, Vin De Pays D’oc, Languedoc, Château Mas Neuf, 2003
Startling nose.  Blind I'd guess a very good Australian.  Coconut? The Cabernet Sauvignon coming through strongly in the condensed milk taste. Tannins quite mouth-pursing, Hint of powder that I could do without. This is a very serious, very well-made wine; I'd compare it in style to Stonewell Shiraz. Needs some time; give it five years...

9. Marquise De La Tourette Hermitage, Delas Frères, 2000
Beautiful dark red; violets Plums, prunes, fruity, not too 'warm', soft tannins. Different. Possibly too much prune for me.

10.Côte-Rôtie La Landonne, Delas Frères,  2004
Lovely almost purple looks, polish and coffee on the nose. Great fruit, some sense of farmyard - fleshy. incredibly complex with a long finish.  Beautiful, gorgeous - even at the price.

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