2012Etian2012 Le Vignoble d’ Elian, Cotes du Marmandais, France.
Here is an interesting wine from the upper Gironde River in France’s wild southwest, but not too far from Bordeaux as to miss an influence. The 2012 Le Vignoble d’ Elian Rouge Cotes du Marmandais is made up of mostly Cabernet Franc and Merlot but also has some percentage of a rare native grape, Abouriou, it is a very intriguing example of terroir and style with early tones that remind you of the Loire, but with almost right bank density and mouth feel, though very clearly is unique. The ancient rocky loam and clay soils allow the Franc and Merlot to really shine with opulent fruit and there is a wild side of exotic spice, game, leather and raw intensity which adds character and complexity to this darkly fruited wine. The nose has crushed flowers, minty herbs, red berries and briar notes leading to a reasonably full bodied palate of plum, black cherry, raspberry and currant fruits with cinnamon, nutmeg, roof tiles, green pepper, sugar beet and a subtle mineral/iron meatiness. This finely balanced red, with 13.5% alcohol and mild tannins, turns on the charm with air and elegance emerges from the glass with a few swirls, this is a wonderful off beat red that is going to confuse your wine friends, but will really please at the table, especially with simple and hearty cuisine. This is well made, fun and full of flavor, with just enough rustic edges to keep the faith with it’s sense of place, off the beaten path for sure, but certainly worth exploring!
($24 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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