This is a fun little wine. Oh, it’s fat and ripe, but I’m not gonna be too hard on it, I mean–this is California, and how else ya gonna sell a bottle with a bunch of funny words on it to the uninitiated? A bit burnt in the nose, but fleshy Welch’s and tinctured blackberry thrust their way forward positively. Not much of the expectant funk the geek is going to crave, but there’s a touch of old-world lurking down in there. The candied over-lay of the fruit knocks a few points off, continued air makes the Gummy Bear frivolity REALLY shine through. No spice or barnyard to speak of, it’s just sweet fruit juice with a little mineral rasp sharpening things.
Tasting it relieves me a bit. There’s gobs of texture to it–even structure–pushing back against the ripeness and putting the sweetness in its place. A little heat definitely side-tracks the tannin, and I have to say the 1% will find the glycerin-y entry and caustic finish short of ‘balance’. Also, there’s no earth or dirt or scullduggerous secrets from the farm laying around to discover.
If I ordered this wine at a cafe in France for 30 euros, I would expect a thinnish, acid driven funk-fest. But ordering it at a seaside winebar in California for $25, you are blessed with crowd-pleasing concentration able to go head-to-head with Paso and Santa Barbara offerings. I’m guessing–in classic Rhone style–it is labelled a straight “14-5”, but oh man I’m thinking it is pushing WAY beyond that.
This is a wine to turn your suburban Prisoner and Tobin James drinkers on to Cotes-du-Rhone. No argument there.
2018 BIELER PERE a FILS ‘La Jassine’ GR/SY 60/40 Cotes-du-Rhone Villages France 15.3