Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Twelve under $12: 2006 Moulin de Gassac "Terrasses de Guilhem"

Those of you who recall my earlier post have probably come to realize that my journey through $12 wine is not so much a hunt for value as it is a learning experience - my exploration of the current state of "vin de table", wines I so rarely drink. So for the twelfth and final wine in my wallet-sparing "Twelve Under $12" series I sought a French expression of country wine.

The 2006 Moulin de Gassac "Terrasses de Guilhem" comes from the Vins de pays de l'Hérault appellation, a first for me. The lable promised me "Un Vin Comme Autrefois", and the marketers couldn't have been more correct. Very rustic on the nose, with notes of roast coffee, cheese, and a metallic undertone. Rustic on the palate as well, it was one of those rare red wines (especially from the south of France) that led with acid, not tannin. Thin and dilute at first with no detectable tannins, I nearly dismissed it. But it was so nicely structured, framed by ample acidity and crisp fruit (blinded I might even have picked it as a white), and slowly revealed layer after layer of new notes and flavours...it was very intellectually stimulating for me, a rarity at this price point. Be warned - if you love New World wines and hate French-styled wine, run - very quickly - away from this wine, you will not like it. (My wife absolutely hated it) But for those seeking a light, structured and interesting glass of wine to pair with a lunchtime steak frites, this is a great, cheap pour - an alternative to a red Chinon, perhaps? Even if you don't like this style of wine, pour a glass (it should be slightly chilled, say 14-16 Celsius) and take some notes. No other wine from my journey into cheap wine captures the essence of vin de table and a sense of place and intrigue. But it is not for everyone.
cork. 12.5% alcohol
Score: 14.5/20
Price: $10.65 (SAQ)

PS - this is an entry level wine from Mas de Daumas Gassac, whose owner Aimé Guibert is famous for his appearance in Mondovino.


Marcus said...

I would say IT IS for everyone! Just not for every occasion...

Haven't tasted it since the 04 but this is the stuff of the ultimate picnic red. Fruity and food-friendly for $10! Chilled is essential.

Barry said...

I want to know when the 12 under $12 will be over..I'm too old to be 'virtual 'drinking these wines....I want Crazy Joe back!

Joe said...

Hi Marcus - after my wife's reaction I will put it in a special category. Totally agree with the picnic red comment.

Barry, I'm done - Crazy Joe is back! Stay tuned...

Anonymous said...

I googled 'Moulin de Gassac Terrasses de Guilhem' which is my favorite table red wine EVER! It rivals many a 20$+ bottle of red wine I've tasted in the past and present.
Bonne revue!
Amicalement vôtre

Joe said...

Hi Ronberge - it's really amazing what M. Guibert has fashioned for such a modest price. Feel free to pass on any other table wines that you have enjoyed.