Had a vertical tasting with Chante le Merle from four vintages: 07, 09, 11 and 12.
The most fruity vintage of the wine. Cassics, raspberry and orange juice on the nose. Not as heady as the other vintages.
Clear zingy acid, like soda pop. Fruit driven with dried strawberries, mushrooms and orange juice. Gets a bit short on the finish and feels a bit soft. Quite a difference going from the dry, heady -09 to this. Even though -09 was the stylistically poorest (in our opinion) vintage the -11 vintage lacks complexity and length compared to the -09 and therefor is rated lower.
Blending 85% Grenache, 10% Syrah and 5% Mourvedre produced a wine with a smoky, incense and red berry nose. Fresh, silky, lush and concentrated, the wine ends with a blast of kirsch liqueur in the finish. This should get better with a few years of age.
Dark violet color. Rich, creamy aromas of black cherries and a hint of spice. Rich and creamy as well on the palate with flavors of black cherry and leather. Considerable but smooth tannin and acidity. Grace notes of vanilla and spice. Needs some cellar time to mellow and integrate.
This is a beautiful vintage of the Chante Le Merle. It is for sure a bit lighter on its feet compare to 07, 09 and 010 but it delivers a truly nice experience tonight. With rich morellos, minerals, garrigue and herbal tones of thyme and sage the nose is just lovely. The palate adds to the overall experience with perfect integration and a profound complexity. There is not a hard edge to the wine but compared to the Cuvée Tradition, I think patience will be rewarded here. A classy but also classical Chateauneuf which certainly deserves some attention!
This wine reminds me of Chinese food, with the sweet/spicy notes of duck fat, grease, fresh and dried herbs and a long finish. It is full bodied and deep, with lots of character. I've never had Chante le Merle before but I am now looking forward to trying other vintages.