A stunner. Deep purple color, rich berry on the nose. Layered fruit with a hint of smokiness on the finish. Compulsively drinkable.
A great bargain! Very vibrant and fresh with hints of cherry, smoke and roasted herbs on the nose. The palate is velvety at first and firms up on the mid-palate and finish; leaving a lingering finish of plum and dark chocolate. I'm obviously a fan of Roussillon blends, and this one hits the spot.
From its appearance in the glass to its silky finish, this wine exudes sophistication. I saw it as more deep red than purple with a subtle but expressive nose (I agree there were hints of cherry and roasted herbs, with plum flavors). The wine has a classical restraint and so seems a bit reticent at first but opens up into a delightful and satisfying, complex series of sensations, growing almost sweet with the fruit at the end, which trails off into a most agreeable finish. There are no unresolved tannins so drink it now. We are told this is 60% Grenache, 35% Syrah and the rest Carignan and Mourvedre, barrel-aged for more than 24 months. The label comments on its "plenitude and onctuousity [sic]." (I think they meant unctuousness.) It has a lot of slender "legs" sliding down from a sheet of glycerine but there is none of the cloying quality one sometimes gets with a Merlot, say. This is a medium-bodied, balanced and finely-tuned wine, of surpassing elegance and finesse, without being precious. It is definitely a deal at $23.99. Pardon me for raving further, but it puts me in mind of a middle Beethoven quartet - say Op. 59, No.2, played by the Takacs String Quartet.
External Reviews for Hecht & Bannier Côtes du Roussillon Villages
Vibrant, rich and well-balanced with its intense red plum, cherry and mineral flavors. There's plenty of peppery seasoning as well, with a finish dominated by dark chocolate. This has the stuffing to age. Drink now through 2014.
The 2007 Cotes du Roussillon Villages from geologically diverse sites in a half dozen outstanding villages is composed primarily of Grenache, with smaller amounts of Carignan, Syrah, and Mourvedre. "The Carignan" from high elevation Belesta and Caramany "is key," maintains Hecht, because Grenache from schist in Maury (which make up about a quarter of the blend) can represent too much richness and blatant fruitiness. High-toned mint, cherry distillate, blackberry liqueur, and floral notes as if from some exotic orchid light up the nose and lead to a deeply rich, opulent palate. Like the corresponding 2007 Faugeres (reviewed in my Languedoc report), this shows more obvious sweetness of fruit and viscosity than previous renditions, yet ups the ante in all other departments as well, and the last thing that comes to mind here is over-ripeness or heaviness. On the contrary, there is terrific energy and lift, leading to a polished, savory, persistently stimulating finish.
The Hecht & Bannier 2006 Cotes du Roussillon Villages smells of cedar, coconut (from a significant proportion of new wood), cherry, marjoram, and smoke. Stimulating hints of cherry pit bitterness along with smoke, herbal pungency, and graphite and crushed stone add to the dynamic impression conveyed by unusually fresh fruit, leading to a long, lip-smacking finish. While this ultimately lacks quite the richness or density of its 2005 counterpart, I imagine it will be well worth cellaring for at least 3-4 years, and it must be borne in mind that a track record is only beginning to accumulate for the maturation of Hecht & Bannier's fine wines.
Gregory Hecht and Francois Bannier's highly-promising young negotiant operation will include wines from Roussillon as well as the Languedoc (for which, please consult coverage earlier in this report). Their 2003 Cotes du Roussillon Villages (from Grenache and Carignan with a bit of Syrah and Mourvedre) represents a selection for the best half dozen districts and soils of Roussillon, matured mostly in larger-than-barrique barrels. Aromas of black cherry, soy, resin and herbs lead to a polished, indeed positively creamy palate loaded with cherry and plum, alluringly-complemented by mocha and brown spices, and tinged with pleasing iodine and toasted nut bitterness. Remarkably sappy and juicy not to mention polished for a 2003, this wine's long, heat-free finish will reel you right back in for more. It represents an outstanding value, and may well gain in complexity over the next several years.
The Hecht & Bannier 2005 Cotes du Roussillon Villages is 70% Grenache, with small components of Carignan, Syrah and Mourvedre, and was sourced from a variety of communes. If you don't claim to smell crushed stone or the pungent scrub of arid Catalan France in the nose of this wine, then you never will. In addition, intense blackberry and cassis as well as roasted game strongly suggest themselves. With a striking combination of creaminess of texture with insistent pungency and brightness - herbs, black pepper, crushed stone, and smoke all seem to make tactile contributions - this reaches every corner of the palate, then lays down a black-top of tar, cassis, herbal concentrate, and stones for a finish. It should be worth following for at least 2-3 years.
The 2005 Côtes du Roussillon Villages - from what Hecht and Bannier call "a perfect vintage for Roussillon" - pours forth aromas and juicy sumptuous profusion of ripe black raspberry and cassis, but smoke, pencil lead, salt, chalk, and wet stone are never any farther from the surface than is the mother rock in most of these vineyards. And for all of this wine's expansive richness, there is ample contrast from juniper and marjoram, as well as a delightfully cool character to its long finishing fruit, complemented by invigoratingly tart fruit skin and crushed stone. With tight but refined tannic underpinnings, this will be worth following for at least 4-5 more years.
Food Pairings for Hecht & Bannier Côtes du Roussillon Villages
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