The 2005 Minervois Cuvee No. 1 contains slightly more Syrah than Carignan and was subjected to both unusually long fermentation and elevage, first in barriques – 30% new – and then in tank, where it still resided when I tasted it in December. (It has since been bottled.) Aromas of blackberry, black cherry, sage, and licorice lead to a rich, sappy palate that avoids any of the awkward tannins that plague so many 2005s at present. Surprisingly, considering its ripe flavors and glycerin richness (not to mention such a dry, stressful vintage), this has only 13.5% alcohol. Chalk and stone mineral suggestions and just a hint of the animal side of Syrah emerge in the long, succulent finish. One can glimpse here the shade of Marlene Soria’s 1996 Peyre Rose Clos des Cistes, whose “power but elegance” Berger says helped inspire his career. I expect this will reward close to a decade of cellaring.
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