Grand Illusion

Dipping into another one of these on a Friday night because I’m bored and the last couple outings with this wine showed rather poorly–something I can’t quite pin on *bottle-variation* or *distribution-issues*. Either way, this is a boring little wine, reflecting an almost constant-happening with these France-Sud negociant bottlings which are fun to buy, nice to look at, priced reasonably, but deliver little OOMPH in the glass. And these are the Grand Terroir labels–which one would *think* might step things up a bit. And it’s a decent wine–I’ve already been too hard on it–but boring and uninteresting: PLEASE give me something interesting in my glass. This one’s actually showing quite better than the last two visits: again nodding to vast variables in bottles.

Inky ruby in the glass, a golden garnet flashing at the rim. Meaty and heavily roiled in vegetal briar, the nose otherwise a flaccid melange of dark cherry at peak, headed into raisin-territory at a half-decade. Pond-water and cardboard offer savory respite to an otherwise sharp-edged multi-vitamin nose adorned with lecithin and brewer’s yeast. An off-putting chemical spice confronts: one part oxidized fruit and one part fake doldrums.

In the mouth, acid manipulates the chubby fruit in BDSM fashion: holding out on anyone’s ability to sparkle. This wine shows characteristic elements of early tiredness, something puzzling to comprehend from a “reserve” bottling of French GSM at 5. How patient and understanding I want to be with it wanes thin even as it sits in decanter at 2 hours. Thin as the fruit it bestows on me. It’s going nowhere but SOUTH: the fruit fading with categorical aplomb at each passing minute; the bland *yawn* of stuffing poking its head in here and there but never delivering the exact lines it read in casting. The berry is deep and fluid, rimmed in smoky heat capturing everything you need to know about Roussillon.

This could EASILY be a Paso Robles wine. This could easily be a Paso Robles GSM at 5 years old. But it is too thin to be Paso Robles. Too acidic. Only the scorched fruit, inability to age and construed acidity remind me of Paso. The rest is ALL France. Pretty barnyard and Herbs de Provence bring sultry aspect to the vapidness, sharpening the fruit and causing me to not HATE this wine. I will drink it the rest of the evening. I will find things GOOD to say about it in the passing hours. I will write positive reviews for the ‘gram because the Zuck told me I’d be a lot more popular if I were nice.

2016 GERARD BERTRAND ‘Les Aspres’ Grand Terroir GSM Roussillon France 14.0

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