2018 Rozas 1er, Commado G
Having slept in a vineyard myself when my bike broke down in Southern France, I enjoyed reading about how the two founders of Commando G, Daniel Landi and Fernando Garcia would sleep in their camper van in the Rayas vineyards. When they finally plucked up the courage to ask for a tour and various geographical features were pointed out, they must have looked between themselves and thought ‘yeah, we pissed against that tree’.
Whether sleeping in a vineyard achieves the same feat of psychogeographical osmosis as listening to self-help cassettes in your sleep, I don’t know. But I do know what they mean when they talk about Rayas evoking a ‘special feeling’ when you drink it. It was that special feeling that led them to make their campervan pilgrimage.
There’s another special feeling you might experience having spent £500 to buy a bottle – but if you’re lucky, you get a sort of unique flavour / emotional balance that is so brilliant, yet so specific to Rayas it has been the highest reference for anyone making a Grenache based wine. There has been some shameless referencing from wines that bear nothing in common, and I don’t think Commando G are trying to do that – just to show their deep reverence for a wine style that they adore. This cuvee is the middle wine in the range, beautifully light in colour, but with very pure flavours – more of an alpine sort of style then a CNDP – It lacks the notes of garrigue and is a bit more cerebral then the emotional overload that is Rayas – but it is very nice indeed, and does make me want to try the Rumbe al Norte – which I’m told from those I trust, is an exceptionally lovely wine.
2017 Cotes de Rhone, Sierra du Sud, Gramenon
Gramenon are perhaps my favourite CDR producer – and this wine has a really beautifully opulent mid-palate, with just enough acidity to keep it the right side of gulpable – in fact, strange though it might sound, it is not so dissimilar to some ripe vintages of Foillard Cote de Py that clock in at 14.5%
2017 Bourgogne Rouge, Cuvee Pressonnier, Joseph Roty
When I was at the Roty’s a couple of years, I was surprised at how many wines were in their line-up – it was something like 24 or something. I may be wrong, and I digress – just surprised me how many wines they make.
They are one of my favourite Gevrey producers – and I love the muscular style of the wines – this is quite oaky for a wine at this level – with a sort of smoky character – might be better in a few years, but delivers great value. Everyone bangs on about how expensive the top wines of Burgundy are getting, and they’re right, but a wine like this at about 14 quid or so works pretty well for me.
2016 El Jaleo, Edmunds-St-John
A beautiful label featuring a picture by Whistler, this blend is in such a good place right now – I do think Steve’s wines need a year of two to show their best. It is such a European sort of style, so unforced and natural, with notes of dried spice and cherry.
That these wines, produced in such tiny quantities, (270 cases in this instance) at such high quality levels, are available at such low prices is a wonder of the modern world. For how long, who knows. There are probably not that many vintages left in Steve. “Even as far back as 2003, when I had Syrah in the press from Bassetti Vineyard on the Central Coast, and I was tasting the wine I realized for the first time that the wine wouldn’t be ready until after I am dead,” he said recently to Alder Yarros of Vinography.
Alder asks: “Are you going to just take down the shingle one day?”
Edmunds laughs and says, “We’ll put the shingle in a museum when we’re done.”