An exploration of wine

217. Château La Baronne, Corbières Montagne d’Alaric, 2001

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Book 2 Wine 217

c. €24; 13%

Book 2 Wine 218

c. €36; 14.5%

This pair – Château La Baronne and Clos du Prieur from Domaine de l’Hortus – are a page out of sequence. Both were bought in La Cave wine bar-restaurant in Dublin and we decided to do a blind comparison around the table to see if we could tell the difference between the cheaper (La Baronne) and more expensive wines blind. I decided to take the bottles home and record the results not so much for the answer (Yes – about 5 of the 6 preferred the Clos), but for the reason. Though both were 2001 vintage Languedoc wines (therefore similar varietal blends), there was a clear distinguishing feature that I had heard was notable in better quality wines: the intensity and length on the palate. The “La Baronne” in fact had the more intense bouquet (though simple – fruit forward), but the texture, intensity, complexity and length of the Clos’ palate was distinct and made it much more enjoyable. Sadly, neither was blow-you-away-good, but then again nor were the service (very slow) or food (uninspiring) at La Cave (do don’t go there!)!

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