I hate wines like this.
Not because there’s anything intrinsically wrong with the wine, this was pleasant enough, but more that I can find very little detail around it. The wine geek in me is not amused.
Pierre Usseglio is a producer from the Rhône Valley who is probably best known for his Chateauneuf-du-Pape wines (one of which will certainly feature in a future tasting note), but also makes wines from Lirac, Côte du Rhone, a Chateauneuf-du-Pape blanc and this Vin de France. Grenache is the most grown grape in the estate vineyards, most of those located within Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
Showing how little information there is on this wine, I can’t be 100% on it’s makeup. One site said it was 90% Merlot, 10% Grenache, others have claimed it’s a mixture of Marselan, Merlot, Grenache and Syrah. I’m confused.
Vin de France is the lowest appellation under French wine law and it’s generally a blend of grapes that don’t fit into standard appellation rules. They’re not necessarily lower in quality, but they’re not going to set you back much either. Expect to find this in Australia for around $20-ish in bottle shops.
Appears to have spent it’s entire life in stainless steel and no oak, which makes sense once you taste it, and it comes in at a whopping 15.5% alcohol. It does have a bit of alcohol heat, but it’s not necessarily distracting.
A kind of medium ruby colour with touches of purple around the edges, leading to ripe red fruits on the nose – think cherries, raspberries and the like, leading into some black fruits and then, surprisingly, some more savoury elements – dried herbs, black tea leaves, et al. The aromas aren’t exactly leaping out of the glass, but they’re not shy either.
Full bodied, high alcohol and medium acidity – it’s not mouthwatering, but it’s likewise not feeling like it’s all ripe fruit and nothing else. Tannins kinda hang in the background without being in your face, which works for me. Plums, cherries, more dried herb and a slightly lavender character that felt… odd. Then into tar and savoury stuff again.
It’s pretty much as advertised and doesn’t pretend to be anything else – it’s big fruited, alcoholic and made to be drunk and enjoyed young. All of which is fine. What’s next?