Monday, September 12, 2011

Plaimont 2009 Beret Noir. Nice wine if you can get it.

Here's a nice Southwest French red for your favorite boho uncle or Basque separatist. It comes from a cooperative winery (a winery owned by an association of many growers who pool their resources) in the Southwest France region of Saint-Mont.
The wine is a blend of Tannat, Pineac, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon that is very modern, clean and lightly oaked, but that still retains a nice Pyrenees garrigue character. It has ripe Fresh black cherry and cassis aromas with hints of cedar, thyme, licorice, olive and dried rosemary. It seems simple at first, but it becomes more expressive with a little bit of time in the glass.
Couple of notes about the grapes:
1. Tannat can be terribly tannic, or bitter, which is how it got the first 4 letters of its name. Frankly, it's a real knuckle dragger, but in the right hands it can acquit itself with some dignity. You may have heard about a technique called 'micro-oxygenation' which is used to mellow the tannins of red wine by bubbling oxygen through fermented wine. That technique was originally developed to tame this savage grape.
2. Pineac (a.k.a. Fer) is a very local Southwestern French / Pyrennees Mountain grape that you'll seldom see outside this region.
3. Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon are two other grapes that do pretty well in Southwestern France (it's quite near to Bordeaux).

The catch: I'm not persuaded by the interweb that this wine is widely sold in the U.S. If you're an importer looking for a decent wine, here's your chance.

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