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A cachet of oriental spices and a distinct cedar, cigar box scent overlap pure elegant fruit and eleven months of small oak barrel ageing in the 1999 Domaine du Ministre St. Chinian. Smooth, smooth, smooth…and charming to boot, it's hard to believe that this flavorful blend of very old vines Grenache and Syrah (50% of each varietal) is not only perfectly drinkable now but downright pretty. Hand-harvested, 100% de-stemmed and bottled without filtration, the 1999 Domaine du Ministre aptly reflects its expert elevage. The result is a rich, supple and expressive wine, with black pepper, spice, vanilla and violets in its delightful flavor profile. Lovely now, the Domaine du Ministre is bound to improve in bottle for at least a few more years and can probably sustain as many as six to eight more years in bottle without loosing a beat. Open a half hour or more before serving, allowing the wine to breathe in the glass or decanter before serving it and enjoy!
Lovely now with grilled meats, game and cheese, the 1999 Domaine du Ministre will only improve, continuing to reveal its versatility with food. Traditional Mediterranean and Provencal fare are already natural accompaniments to this hedonistic St. Chinian, as are complex Middle Eastern dishes, particularly lamb-based recipes. Roasted root vegetables (red onion, carrot, leek, turnip and parsnip) provide another tasty pairing with the Domaine du Ministre. Stuffed veal chops, roast duck and goose are other excellent offerings that are sure to please even the most discerning gourmets. And, as the 1999 Domaine du Ministre ages, it should continue to gain complexity, subtlety, and finesse, making it the perfect partner to lighter fare like roast chicken, turkey, and medallions of veal. Needless to say, wine this good really doesn't need much of anything to be enjoyed, but just about any food seems enhanced by Domaine du Ministre's St. Chinian.
Domaine du Ministre is a jewel of an estate, producing an excellent Languedoc red, in the hillside appellation of St. Chinian. Vinified by Jacques and Francois Lurton, Domaine du Ministre is crafted in the concentrated, polished style for which the Lurton brothers are famous. Nearly a third of all French wine is grown in the vast area of southern France known as the Languedoc. Stretching from the Rhone River to the Pyrenees Mountains in a great sweeping arc, the Languedoc is the oldest wine producing region of France. Wine growing prospered here under the Romans as the vine flourished on the hillsides of this wild, savagely beautiful country. Unfortunately, the advent of phylloxera in the 19th century pushed many growers to replant on the plains, but this trend has happily been reversed in the past several decades, restoring the Languedoc and St. Chinian in particular to its former glory. St. Chinian is generally acknowledged to be one of the two greatest appellations of the Languedoc. Here old vines Grenache and Syrah grapes reign supreme, blended occasionally with small quantities of Mourvedre and Carignan.
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