Happening Now Tasting 26: Domaine Plageoles Le Prunelart 2009, Gaillac

On the “Happening Now Tasting” posts ahead I plan to send my tongue on a voyage of discovery to wine-growing regions with hyper autochthonous and scarcely existing grape varietals. Today I'd like to start with a “test subject” from the South-West of France. In Galliac there is a variety named Prunelart. Prunelart is a small-berry and dark blue variety which is almost extinct. Until the phylloxera crisis Prunelart was one of the most widespread varietals in Galliac. Today only 10 to 12 hectares are still in cultivation in the entire Sud-Ouest. Prunelart shows distinct similarities to Malbec. Genetically (alongside Magdeleine Noire des Charentes the co parent of Malbec) as well as aromatically (I'll taste the possible resemblance soon). The main reason for Prunelart's imminent extiction - besides the effects of phylloxera - might be its capricious nature. Especially Plasmopara viticola and Botrytis cinerea are two of its unfortunate frequent visitors.

Today's “test object” was produced by Bernard Plageoles of Domaine des Tres Cantous (or just Domaine Plageoles). The densely cultivated vines (approx. 5000 vines per hectare) are growing on gravely loamy soils in Galliac region. After fermentation the „Le Prunelart“ 2009 was aged for 12 months in concrete tanks on its lees. Well, let's have a curious look …

6:32 pm (opened about 20 minutes ago without decanting)

Colour: more red than black, rather bloody (very fresh looking), not so many particles visible, not totally tinted, overall just semi-opaqueness

Nose: pretty “offensive” bright red currant, partly jamy-boiled, some honey (!?), traces of rose leaves, a hint of iodine (slight medical character), plenty of diffuse green characteristics; so far very nervous and by far not all too balanced, appears very juvenile

Taste: tense, highly astringent, weirdly very fruitful, the intense red currant seems a bit darker on the palate, for me a bit too much ethereal alcohol, plenty of smoked beef, privet hedge, rather tart, raunchy tannins, pretty obtrusive and sauvage, so far very green and green horn'ish and astoundingly unnerving

8:12 pm

Nose: getting more fruitful and more influenced by forest berries, the touch of red currant is still elaborate however a bit on retreat, gentle and classy appearing smoke is evolving; still mostly nervous, on the road to a better future (I guess)

Taste: the fruitful characteristics is getting more raisin'ish, hot and rich, besides this evo aromas pimento and tart choco are evolving, tannins are still very hard, astringent and the touch of alcohol is getting a bit stronger (perhaps even a bit smutty); still very wild and inharmonious stuff

9:47 pm

Nose: the beef character is starting to feel a bit incinerated and coupled with charcoal attributes, the actual fruit fragrances seem to ease a bit, not as intense as before, the herbal touch seems to gain ground, now I got plenty of pimento, cloves and dried thyme; heading in the right direction

Taste: the intense fruitful character is reducing (luckily), pimento, cloves, musk and various other mostly savage associations are emerging more subtle and stronger, acid is still very vivid and tannins are lightly beastly; getting better … slowly

6:02 pm (the day after)

Nose: a far more substantial shift happened overnight, now the fruit seems darker more earthed and overall more subtle, by far not as nervous as yesterday, the actual fragrances haven't changed so much; the nose is far more approachable and likeable, although still rather unique composition of various nasal aromas

Taste: the acid is still heavily lively, but the hard tannins seem by far more sedated, the charcoal attributes appear more profound and cunning, all in all the fruit flavours seem darker, besides that a certain hint of bloodiness is evolving, AND now a promising mineral character including some Finn liquorice saltiness is hitting the palatal stage – very substantial shift here; today the Prunelart appears far sound and digestible

Anyway, this Le Prunelart 2009 from Domaine Plageoles is still extremely young and probably not in the best shape possible. I suggest to leave it alone for a couple of years. Still a rather entertaining and educating “Happening Now Tasting”!

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