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Tim York

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WTN: An English grower in Roussillon; Jon Hesford

by Tim York » Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:44 pm

Jon is a regular contributor on the UK Wine Pages and has also contributed here when we had a WF (or was it an OM?) on Languedoc/Roussillon. He was in Belgium to present his wines from his Domaine Treloar, Côtes du Roussillon (“CdR”) at the Salon des Jeunes Vignerons at Couthuin in deep Wallonia near the river Meuse between Namur and Liège.

I have been tantalised by descriptions of his wines, which have only recently become available in Belgium, and therefore couldn’t miss this opportunity to meet both him and his wines for the first time last Saturday.

I have conversed about wine on internet for some years, mainly on this site and on the UK Wine Pages, and feel that I already know many of the regular posters quite well although I have only met about a handful of them. Such meetings are always a real pleasure, particularly when the poster is a thoughtful, articulate and skilful vigneron like Jon.

As I expected, I was very impressed by his range on show and I have hastened to confirm my impressions by already opening and drinking with dinner on the intervening evenings bottles of Le Bon Voisin and Motus. On this showing Treloar’s wines strike me as seriously good with a lot of density; indeed far too much so to be used for casual slurping, even the “entry level” Le Bon Voisin, and at least as good as other references from the region which I have had in my cellar, such as Roc des Anges, Gardiès, Boudau and Gauby (when on form).

All the wines here except the last were AOP CdR, I think.

La Terre Promise 2011, from Grenache gris, Macabeu and Carignan blanc, showed delicious aromatics with a Mediterranean touch and a strong palate with attractive acidity, minerals and backbone; first impressions were very good. I will report back when I open one at home.
Le Bon Voisin (AKA Three Peaks) 2009, from Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Carignan, showed very nice dark fruit, depth and complexity with good acidity, plenty of grip and structure. Drinking very well right now but I wonder whether it is not capable of taking more age than the three years suggested on the Treloar website; very good 16.5/20.
Le Secret 2006, from Syrah, was richer and fuller bodied than the previous with mature dark fruit and a liquorice undertow on the firm finish; first impressions were very good.
Motus 2010, from Mourvèdre. Jon told me that this wine sees about 20% new American oak and such are my prejudices that, at the tasting, I noted an oaky nose. However, on approaching it at home with a nice steak I was not at all troubled by this. On the nose there were fine dark fruity and slightly leathery aromas where the sweet vanilla touch of the oak could perhaps be inferred but not actually sensed separately. The palate was concentrated, deep and complex with rich fruit, spice and pepper (brought out by Bolognese sauce on the second night), firm tannic structure supporting a decently long finish and enough acidity to cope with the Bolognese. It is remarkable for a Mourvèdre derived wine to be giving so much pleasure so young but I am confident that it will take on more subtlety with more age. Excellent 17/20++.
Tahi 2006, from Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre, showed complex aromatics and a rich brooding complex and structured depth on the palate. First impressions were excellent.
Muscat de Rivesaltes 2011 was much fresher and more elegant than a recent Turkish delight like M de Beaumes de Venise on which have posted a separate thread. The nose exploded with attractive exotic fruit in which I detected lychee and dessert grape and the palate reminded me of my mother’s marmalade recipe which was burnished and tangy without the heaviness of the Oxford recipe. First impressions were very good.

I regret now not also having taken bottles of Le Secret, Tahi and the Muscat so as get to know them better as with the other three.

Jon’s wines were not alone.

I particularly liked the range from Domaine Grisard (Savoie) where many unusual but attractive flavours were available from local grape varieties. I enjoyed the mineral whites, Jacquère and Roussette de Savoie and the rare Mondeuse blanche, which Jon likened to Viognier, but I thought without the frequent heaviness of that grape. I also liked the basic red Mondeuse VV and the quite rare Persan with its attractive ivy tang and bitter touch on the finish.

I would also have happy to drink a quiet glass or two on a sunny terrace of the virile Chénas from Domaine Thillardon or the Alsatian Rieslings Katzenstegel or Kaefferkopf from Domaine Théo Meyer. They were not, however, “must buys” displacing my affection for Beaujolais from, say, Vissoux and Brun or for Alsatian Riesling from, say, René Muré, Paul Ginglinger and Meyer-Fonné, without venturing up amongst the big names.
Tim York
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Mark S

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Re: WTN: An English grower in Roussillon; Jon Hesford

by Mark S » Sat Feb 23, 2013 3:19 pm

There are a number of English growers in the south of France...must be the climate attracts them. Thanks for posting one I haven't heard about yet!

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