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The wines of Domaine Rabiega,
 Côtes du Provence
V&S Domaine Rabiega, Clos Dière Méridional, FR-83 300 Draguignan, France
Tel: +33 494 68 44 22 Fax: +33 494 47 17 72
Web: www.rabiega.com E-mail: vin@rabiega.com

This domaine is owned by the Swedish company Vin & Spirit AB, and the winemaker is a Swede, Lars Torstenson. With just 10 ha of vines, it's not a huge operation -- annual production is around 20 000 cases of wine, 90% of which is red. With a plus conference centre on site, this estate concentrates on premium wine production, and money doesn't seem to have been an object. The Clos Dière wines are the top cuvées; there's also a more affordable 'r' series of wines, which weren't on show here. The standard seems to be consistently good, and I especially enjoyed the unorthodox but superb white and the delicious dessert wine.

Clos Dière 'Cuvée 1' 1997
Cuvée 1 is 99% Syrah and spends 1 year in new French oak. This is a very youthful wine; a deep red/purple colour it has a subdued nose and a dense palate with bright fruit and firm tannins. Good balance. Very good

Clos Dière 'Cuvée 1' 1993
The same cuvée with some bottle age, this is a similarly deep red/purple colour. There's an attractive smoky/herby nose. On the palate it is complex and shows great balance; still quite tannic. Very good+

Clos Dière 'Cuvée 2' 1997
Cuvée 2 is a blend of different grapes, including Grenache and Carignan, that spends a year in new French and American oak barrels. This is a medium bodied red with a slightly muted nose and a rich, sweet, spicy palate. It's a bit like a Châteauneuf du Pape in character. Good balance. Good/very good

Clos Dière 'Cuvée 2' 1993
After several years in bottle this is a light red/purple colour with a browning rim. The nose shows sweet fruit with notes of herbs and tea. The medium bodied palate shows rich, soft, spicy fruit. Very good+

Clos Dière Blanc 1998
An unusual blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier, but one that works pretty well. Spends 3-6 months in new French oak. Lovely, lively, fresh nose: bright and rich, with notes of peach, apricot and honey. The full, rich palate has deliciously bold flavours and good acid balance. Very good/excellent

Rabiega Vin Toussaint NV
A vin doux made from Carignan grapes picked in November, this is a stunning dessert wine. A tawny colour, it has exotic caramel and herb-laced nose. On the palate it is unctuous, rich and sweet, with great balancing acidity. Very good/excellent

(Tasted November 2000)

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