After a fantastic morning spent at Chateau de Brau in Villemoustaussou, we turned on the GPS on the Nokia and plotted a course to Domaine O’Vineyards. Ok if we had a car we could of perhaps done a few more vineyards in our time frame but hey we were saving money by walking, no one was drink driving and there is no better way to experience the area with the sun shinning and birds chirping away.
The walk was about 45 minutes in between the two – a nice way to work up the tasting appetite. Originally I presumed the owners would be from Ireland from the name ‘Domaine O’Vineyards’ however the family are American – New Caledonian. Ryan, the winemaker was unfortunately at a tasting on the day however we were hosted by his lovely parents Joe and Liz with their beautiful dog Muse helping us along too.
The winery has a lovely rustic feel to it, set in amongst their 15ha of vines. It is like a home away from home. The relaxed atmosphere would make anyone want to sit back and enjoy a bottle or two – which I would suggest they should start doing.
They were kind enough to open 5 bottles of red for us to try, a nice selection from their Mediterranean climate. The vineyard began in 2005, therefore they are still very young and even though some of the wines are still getting there you can taste the potential jumping out of the glass. Between the vineyard, the bed & breakfast and their relaxed and welcoming nature this is surely already a must visit if your in the area.
So here is what we tasted;
The first 3 bottles we tried were based on a very interesting concept – they took the same wine and matured it in 3 different ways – making sure every wine was treated exactly the same – as Liz said, it was basically looking after triplets. The wine itself was approximately 53% Merlot and 47% Cab Sauv.
1. Podium, 2005 – stainless steel:
A lot of black fruits intertwined with licorice notes and some sweet spice (cinnamon) emerged from the glass. The tannins were of medium strength, however it left a very green taste in your mouth.
2. Podium, 2005 – American oak:
On the nose I got a strong sense of Christmas trees with some burnt sugar in there. These carried through onto the palate underlying flavours of black fruits. The tannins were more overpowering with this one – possibly something a nice juicy steak could help settle a bit.
3. Podium, 2005 – French oak:
This for me was my favourite of the 3, showing a lot more balance and roundness. The fruit notes were also more pronounced with a nice mix of plums and blackberries. The tannins were weaved in beautifully. I would definitely enjoy a roaring fire and a bottle of this in winter.
After the triplets we were lucky enough to try two beauties that I would of loved to buy a case of each if it wasn’t for me living from a backpack for the next 2 years.
The first was the 2005 O’Syrah which had a beautiful pepper bite with obvious tannins that weaved their way into a beautiful bowl full of ripe dark berries. This is how a Syrah should be, upfront, full of confidence and willing to give you all it’s got. Delish!
Secondly we tried some of their 2007 Reserve, which is a blend of Syrah, Cab Sauv and Cab Merlot. The interesting part of this wine is how it is made – a long full-berry fermentation in 500 liter oak barrels. This leaves the wine with a much more prominent fruit character. Again I want to describe this wine as one of those ones you could just sit there and smell for hours with pure pleasure – simply mind-blowing. From the chocolate to leather to plums and black cherries to the spice of the Syrah seeping through. These notes follow through onto the palate and leave you with pure ecstasy in the mouth for a good long while – beautiful finish!
All up we had a great tasting with Joe, Liz and Muse and would highly recommend visiting Domaine O’Vineyards if you’re in the region. Plus I hear Liz’s cooking is to die for!