Before we begin, be warned; this is a grown-up wine. If you like your reds with multi-coloured labels and supermarket prices, you’d best click away now. If you like chummy, cherry-red wines or characterless cab-savs, look elsewhere. Because this, La Soula’s unassuming Rouge 2014, is a sophisticated sip. It’s the mature option — and a fascinating, discriminating wine.
It owes much of this mellow maturity to the little-known Carignan grape. Tricky to grow and something of an acquired taste, Le Soula used 69-year-old Carignan vines to create this 2014 vintage, blending in some Syrah and Grenache Noir for good, palatable measure. The result? A genuinely satisfying spin on your usual red. It’s deadly seriously, and seriously good.
On the eyes: Sanguine; which is to say blood-red. See? We told you this wine wasn’t messing around. Instead, on the eyes, it checks off the three delectable Ds — deep, dark and dense. There are slight hints of maroon and rich cherry to be seen, but only in the best light. Anywhere worth drinking (low-lit lounges, home cinemas, candle-lit dinners) it’ll look like it’s bordering on the black.
On the nose: Similarly no-nonsense. In fact, after you’ve decanted the La Soula 2014 and let it breathe for an hour or so, it’ll open up with a slightly savoury, almost-mulled aroma. On first sniff, it may smell a little acrid — but a second whiff will uncover a calmer, more complex bouquet. The predominant nosing note is one of old books; a musty, almond-like aroma that smells like you’ve liquidised a library. In a good way.
On the palate: Terrifically tannic. There’s not a sniff of sweetness in this one, so again avoid it if you like your Syrahs syrupy. Rather, the Rouge 2014’s flavour is found in the lingering spice and the mere suggestion of smoke. It sits low in the throat, with a flinty feel and hints of leather leaving a sun-baked taste in the mouth. But it’s those complex, bitter tannins that really steal the show; backing up that bookish smell with a paper-dry palate.
On the finish: The La Soula Rouge 2014 has a long and lasting finish — but is neither sweet, fruity nor alcohol-forward. Instead it’s smoothly moreish, gently persuading you to take another sip and expanding your wine horizons every time you do so. If you were to pair it with food, go for something grilled — as this will bring out those shadowy, smoky undertones. Otherwise, enjoy its elegance without distraction. You know, like a grown-up…
La Soula Rouge 2014
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