This is a first for me- Banyuls is a sweet, dessert style red wine that has been slightly fortified to halt the fermentation which leaves residual sugar. This one is six years old and displays a deep garnet color in the glass with loads of legs showing off its 17% ABV. The nose is quite pronounced with aromas of stewed plum, cooked red cherry, walnuts, charred oak, raisins, orange peel and strawberry tart. The palate is off-dry and a bit furry. Tight grained tannins coat my mouth and my upper palate immediately. Green almonds come to mind. I get really juicy flavors of the cooked/stewed red fruits, oak influence, nuts and orange peel. These flavors are slightly offset by the astringency I feel throughout the whole mouthfeel. I sense it is somewhat ‘green’, yet quite zesty, versus the silky nature of Port, which it closely resembles. I like it, and considering it is often served as an aperitif- I can see why. It is medium (+) bodied with a medium finish and medium (+) acidity which is a bit strange considering the grape varietal (Grenache). Then again it’s also more tannic than expected. The palate feels like I have been coddling a black tea pouch inbetween my cheek and gums- the intensity of the tannins is that great. I guess that will stead the wine well in the cellar and allow it to mellow over the next 10-15 years. I like this wine and think it is a nice intro to the style of Vin Doux Naturel. I paid $30 for the 500ml bottle that gets 90 points and 4 stars. Drink as an aperitif or with some soft cheese after dinner. Salut….
M. Chapoutier Banyuls 2016, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
13 Sunday Mar 2022