Robert Parker 95
For all of its sense of density, this boasts ultra-refined, silken tannins and finishes almost light on its feet, with a subtlety that invites deep contemplation, yet mineral notes so vivid, one imagines a compass could be used to take this wine’s bearings. 2005 Cotes du Roussillon Villages Muntada perpetuates the relatively lean, bright, athletically dynamic, buoyant yet penetrating style that Gauby has struck in the last several vintages, yet has a texture like satin. Marjoram, juniper berry, cinnamon, toasted nuts, black fruits, raw beef, and wood smoke in the nose usher in an electrically-charged flood of fresh, bright blackberry laced with herbs and crushed stone. This offers a sheer lift and refreshment that few red wines this densely-concentrated deliver. A U.S. retail price has not yet been set, but can probably be expected to run around $115. Gerard Gauby (increasingly assisted by his son Lionel) continues ” restlessly, experimentally, but with obvious focus ” to pursue his rigorous biodynamic viticultural regimen as well as his stylistic ideals of elegance, refinement, distinctive minerality, and moderate alcohol, none of which ” he demonstrates ” are incompatible with ripe flavors and sheer density. (One stunningly floral and fruit-filled lot of 2008 Grenache destined for Muntada was harvested at a record-low 13.3% alcohol.) The key quality factor in stony, sun-drenched Roussillon, Gauby opines, is density of root structure sufficient to support steady vine metabolism, because shut-down or stop-start maturation under stress is what ultimately causes tannins to harden and pH and sugars to rise independently of maturation. Reds here from the last five vintages are more exciting then ever, if stylistically distinct from their more obviously robust and alcoholically-rich predecessors. Gauby has been the regional leader in white wines as well, which seem especially to benefit from the high-elevation and mixture of schistic and chalky soils around the town of Calc. A recently-acquired parcel of Grenache Gris vines planted in 1947 that he is â€œrestoringâ€ represents, says Gauby, the last such acreage available in his neighborhood. Propagation of cuttings will take a long time to mature to the point where they bear outstanding fruit, and he has enough old vines to keep him entirely busy and supplied. Apropos white grapes and young vines, Gauby is inter-planting Malvoisie with some of his red vines to achieve an effect similar to that conferred by the occasional blanc and gris vines that are a feature of Roussillon’s oldest remaining stands of Carignan and Grenache. Incidentally, there is an utterly alluring Gauby 2004 vendange tardive still in barrel, subtly oxidizing. Importer: Weygandt-Metzler, Unionville, PA; tel. (610) 486-0800.