Consumed over 2 days (vacuvined), note from day 2. Nose: Medium expressiveness, shoe leather, black raspberry, black cherry, blueberry, and tobacco. Palate: Medium bodied, lively red fruit attack, decent acidic back-bone, back-end shows spicy red fruit and earthiness. Finish: Medium length dominated by spicy red fruit. My last of 3 bottles and, by looking at my previous notes, the best - drinking very nicely right now.
Pop/pour. Overtly sour. Needs time / air to open up and let the fruits provide a balance to the opening acidity. This does gain some fruit depth with time, but there is an abundant brightness that remains as a foil to some pretty nice fruit.
This wine must not have impressed when consumed two years ago, as there is no note from that bottle, but this bottle is worth the time to type one. Very dark but not opaque, jewel-like red. Distinctive aromas. Lighter bodied and more graceful tasting than the color suggests. A bit rustic, with sweet fruit, good acidity, and approachable tannins. A touch of unctuousness in the texture. Finishes a little hot. A nicely developed bottle and a fine value.
Very dark in character for a Grenache blend though I do not know the percentages versus the Carignan and Syrah. Fleshy and almost chewy with a good dose of soft tannin late. There is plenty of sediment telling me the filtering is minimal. Generous fruit and decent complexity. Very nice if you like darker, robust styled Rhone blends. There is certainly no rush to drink this as it seems very young and has the fruit concentration to go long but there is variation in the TN's here so that may give one pause for further aging. And it's open enough to drink anytime. Good stuff.
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This one gets the IMPORTANT tag and, while I don't have much, it deserves the accolade anyway. I usually only give 4-6 IMPORTANT tags per year so this deserves more than a casual look.
Heading up from the sea-side village of Sainte-Marie toward my destination in Andorra (the little known "country" that straddles France and Spain deep within the Pyrenees), I was side-tracked by an unknown domaine that has been making underground news all over Europe - beautiful scenery was a given but I was not expecting to find one of France's new stars and a winery that has some of the world's most important importers scrambling for the initial rights to the property. It's always a bad sign when the line of Mercedes and BMWs are outside the tasting room (and they are not consumers) but, in this case, I am fortunate that they were all from Northern Europe and none were form the US...yet. When the sommelier of Guy Savoy (not the Las Vegas Guy Savoy, the real one) walked out with a broad smile and hopped into one of the waiting M3s, I knew this was going got be more than a simple detour...
The story of this property is one of enlightenment and courage - a success story of a husband and wife bent on delivering the purest reflection of their old-vine heritage at some of the lowest prices out there. In the current economic climate, that should be music to everyone's ears. If the wine we offer today (the Carino) were produced by the typical, it would be at least $30-40 (or more). If you want to scroll down to see the price, now would be a good time.
This is Mas Mudigliza - a winery with a very strange name but one that will be remembered for the wine as much as the name on the bottle. I wondered aloud in my typical (i.e. tiring) over-analytical dialogue regarding the origin of this name - it appeared to be quixotic and not the norm, derived from romantic old-yore or dialect from this area of France, one still untraveled that leads up to the heights of the Pyrenees. I waxed poetic to the owners on the history of the region, the wonderful use of dialect in the winery name and the importance of keeping the slang of the local language alive - I put my best intelligent foot forward to impress them and then planted my left sole squarely in my mouth "actually, the winery name is just a combination of our two names, mine is Muriel Zamson and my husband is Dimitri Glipa - MUrielDImitriGLIpaZAmson - MUDIGLIZA. It has nothing to do with dialect, it's made up".
Now, when one makes a fool of themselves, two choices lie ahead: retreat and take the initial embarrassment with you or move ahead and forge a new beginning with the hope that the past will remain just that - in this case, I chose the later and let the wine do the talking for all of us. It was the wise decision - the wines of Mas Mudigliza turned out to be some of the most promising young samples I've tasted since the original NoWat barrel samples with Dupere and we all know how that has been received.
For such an unknown entity, they are making waves in a hurry. Their Maury (Vin Doux/dessert wine) has already made the wine list at some of Paris' most ambitious eateries (including the above mentioned Guy Savoy) and dominated the national tastings held by the RVF (more like obliterated the other entries) but it is this wine, the Carino, that will make them famous: In a nutshell, if you desire high altitude, old-vine (60-100 years), organically produced Amon-Ra with a massive presence and an important old-world twist (with ageing potential to match) this is your wine. My gut tells me you will not be alone in making this one of your discoveries of the year. When I say layer upon layer of gritty, deep and textured black fruit bubbling over in a cauldron that is like a Middle Earth like witch's brew - I do not say so lightly. This wine has a huge presence with a dignified and almost restrained character that sets it apart. The difference between something like this and my reference of Amon-Ra is simple - RS. The Mudigliza has far less residual sugar than many top renditions of Shiraz and this Syrah (with parts old-vine Grenache/Garnacha and Carignan) speaks with a very adult vocabulary despite its "shot heard round the world" demeanor. One parcel is grown on a piece of fissured schist at 1200-1500 ft above sea level and the other is at 1500-1800 ft on solid granite. It other words, the climate gives the full-bore substance but the altitude and rock give the unique framework and demure character. The combination is more than alluring and it's tough to ignore - even from me (a noted high-alcohol/high extract antagonist).
Hand-picked and sorted at the vine (berry by berry) this wine is vinified in steel and then transferred to old oak and a few new barrels for a year. Depending upon the triage, around 500 cases are produced but in a great vintage (like 2006) up to 800-900 can be made if the fruit is superior. To give you an idea of the style, here is the Decanter review of the 2006 "Carmine", which is what doesn't make it into the Carino (the Carino has not been reviewed yet): "An absolute beauty from one of the lesser-known areas of the Languedoc. Chocolatey red fruits sprinkled with white pepper on the nose are followed by further peppery red fruits on the palate. A wine with lovely personality and great structure. Drink 2008-11."
...and that was for the second wine.
I am not in the business of numerical prognostication but, if I had to make a wager, I would expect interesting reviews for the Carino. This is a wine that demands your attention and it certainly has mine. Outstanding for the style and so low-priced for the genre that it is a perfect example of how wine can still be produced and sold for a fair price even if the competition charges 2-3 times as much. Something about hard work and making less money than your competitors doesn't bother me - what goes around comes around and Mudigliza should reap the benefit of consumer good-will for far longer than those choosing to do the opposite.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
This parcel is directly from the cellars with perfect provenance
VERY RARE - 75 cases for the US (we are only getting a part of the US allocation, the rest goes to restaurants)
2006 Mas Mudigliza Cotes du Roussillon "Carino"
It will ship during the first available shipping window (weather permitting, it will ship in the fall).