This classic from Chateauneuf Du Pape is a dark shade of purple and is 75% opaque. The nose is gorgeous- raspberries, rosewater, ripe cherry and some spice. On the palate the raspberry theme continues with oolong tea, violet and lithe tannins. It has minerality and some modicum of acidity to go along with the red fruit. On the mid palate it is very smooth and has concentrated flavors of raspberry along with some strawberry extract. Red licorice and lively tannins show up at the back end where the finish is long, full bodied and delicious. This is a very tasty wine that is not too bold, but caresses with nice rounded fruit, a decent dose of tannins that are very well integrated and some balancing acidity which gives it a wonderful mouthfeel. Delightful stuff, made even better that it was bet with my buddy over a football game- I won! 93 points from me, the pros went a point or two more. At $105, this is a treat blend of mainly Grenache with Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault adding to the mix. Drink this 4 star wine till 2030. Salut….
Third up at our virtual tasting event was this Grenache blend. I had high hopes for another stunner from CdP but alas, you cannot hit home run after home run. This wine was semi opaque and had notes of toasted marshmallow, candied raspberry, plum, black pepper and stone fruit on the nose. Someone in the group decried “A beautiful, pretty smell”. Someone else said it was flowery. The palate gave us spice, rich black raspberry, cigar smoke, licorice and a streak of minerality. I scored it a paltry 8.5 of 20 but for some it was a huge hit. I’m not a fan of sweetness in red wine, the candy theme is not to my taste, hence the low number. Technically speaking I gave this $45 wine 89 points, the pros went much higher at 92. It gets 2 stars from me. Drink till 2026. Salut….
Dark purple and semi opaque. The nose is rich, spicy with black pepper and gamy with bacon fat plus plum reduction. On the palate this wine is mature- rich plums, raspberry extract, gamy notes and earthiness. Slightly stewed prunes hint at the age of this wine. Bakers spice and super fine grained tannins highlight the midpalate but it’s the flavor of dried mushrooms being reconstituted with a salty umami component that really carry the moment. The finish is rather short but l get sour cherry, raspberries and dark chocolate. This wine will appeal to lovers of mature old world wines that are earthy, loaded with terroir and have tones of tertiary flavors. For me- 89 points but drink sooner rather than later. A blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvedre, Muscardin and Counoise that runs $40 and gets 3 stars. Salut….
Orange, bricked and nearly see through in the glass. Stewed prunes, almonds, port and raisins on the nose. Tinny and over the hill but it has some reticent notes of steeped raspberries, traces of tannins and a modicum of acidity. It’s too bad that this one is past it’s due date cause I reckon it would have been a decent wine. No score or points. Salut….
The fourth wine of the #10 Virtual tasting was a home run for me. This $60 Grenache was silky smooth, layered with flavors, complex and had an amazing mouthfeel.
It was semi opaque and had a lighter purple shade in the glass. The nose was very fruity with notes of Cedar, prunes, black cherry, smoky meat, pepper and cinnamon. One taster also threw in ‘bug spray’. On the palate it was very smooth and tasted ‘cold’- in a sense that this wine was very focused and had a concentration of flavors. It was Moxie’s favorite wine of the night and she’s not a huge fan of the reds. The tannins are what I think she liked- very fine grained and well integrated leading to a not-so-dry mouthfeel that was complex, balanced and chock full of red fruits and spice. Prunes showed up on the medium length finish. This wine was astounding to me, my first truly remarkable CDP in forever. I think the 5 years of cellaring was the key to softening this wine and allowing the tertiary notes to begin their emergence. I rated this wine 19 points on my tasting scale, a monster effort that translates into 95 points in the real world. The pro’s went 94, not far off. I know sixty bones is a big step in the wallet but well worth it for an exceptional wine that I award 5 stars to. Drink till 2030. No pairing needed, delicious all by itself. Salut….
Medium opacity with a lighter purple hue. On the nose it screams black currants with some bacon fat and oregano. There is a hint of forest floor at the back end of the nose. On the palate – berries, medium intensity tannins, tea and olives. The wine transitions nicely to the mid palate with the tannins providing a nice dryness to the mouthfeel. The flavors are consistent through to the finish where I also get some licorice. The balance is nice for a wine that is made for medium term drinking. Perfect for a game dish, even a seasoned Cornish Hen. Drink now till 2033. 91 points and 4 stars for this $34 blend of mainly Grenache mixed with Syrah and Mouvedre. Salut….
I wrote about La Mitre three years ago and recommended giving it a 2-3 year cellaring. I opened one up the other night and here is what I had to say about this offering that is now selling for $30.
A lighter purple that is somewhat opaque. Interesting nose of game, plum, rhubarb and an earthiness. On the palate it reveals some astringent tannins that are prominent yet dissipate to reveal cherry, garrigue and cola. There’s a certain imbalance between the tannins, fruit and acidity that I can’t my head around. This wine is 6 years old and needs a little more time. 88 points from me and 3 stars. I plan on re-tasting in a year or two. Salut….
At least once a year my childhood friend comes over for dinner. We will nickname him Rashad. He has good taste in wine and a better sense to ask for help at the wineshop. Last year he brought this beauty along for dinner but I felt it needed time. I cellared it for a year, cracking it open when he came over the other day. I had charcoal grilled a boneless leg of lamb, which was a near perfect companion to this wine. That is correct, I chose the wine and then the meal to accompany it!
Nose of garrigue with some plum torte and a hint of oak. On the palate- purple fruits, blueberry jam, licorice and fresh tannins. A solid amount of acidity balances the backbone and gives it a freshness. There’s a long mid palate to this wine that carries the fruit all the way to the finish with a hint of pepper, some game and cherry . The ending is long with plum, tannins and some juiciness. 92 points is my vote. WS gave it 93, RP-91. I think it is at peak and will drink well for another 5 years minimum. It can be found for around $50. A great bottle of mainly Grenache for a big meaty meal! 4 stars from me. Salut….
A basic CDP, with straightforward fruit of Black Cherry, Earth, Green Pepper and Stones. A razor minerality and some fine grained tannins bring structure. A decent level of acidity balance the package, yet I am not feeling the love. I tried the bottle straight from the opening, and then poured it through the Vinturi for the second glass. It came across smoother and more fruity, which speaks well for aerating this bottle. It could probably use 2-3 years in the cellar and should last until 2018. I opened it for a Roast Beef dinner, figuring it would have the right tannins to sort out the beef and horseradish. I was right. 89 points, and 3 stars for this $54 offering of 60% Grenache, balanced with Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah. Salut…
In 1999 we moved to England, where I started to ‘collect’ wines, and had my first CDP. I always think of this region as unique, rich, rewarding and expensive. Inflation has not been kind to the consumers of Châteauneuf, it’s prices going higher and higher by the vintage as the region gains accolades from ‘The Big Man’ which adds dollars to the entry fee, (mind you the quality is also coming up). The region was named after the Pope’s New Castle, and allows seven grapes to be blended with the main Grenache varietal. Think Cinsault, Mourvedre, Syrah and more. Makes my mouth water just listing them.
Back to the wine at hand. Dark purple in the glass and a nose of blackberry meets rock. Yup, rock. This wine has a minerality that took a while to pick up. The palate comes across as young, yet ready to play… with Blackcurrants, stone and a green pepper component. Very smooth tannins are built for aging yet are allowing drinkability right now if you decant/aerate (which I did). The structure of this wine is really good, with acidity balancing the alcohol, which alarmed me initially. This particular wine is running at 15%. It’s main backbone coming from 80% Grenache with 18% Syrah smoothing it out and 2% Mourvedre which no doubt adds the tannic and alcohol components. The minerality and stone notes no doubt coming from the terroir, which consists of galettes or round stones. These galettes help maintain the day’s heat and help mold the flavors of the wines and give them that uniqueness.
For about $32, you are getting a lower priced CDP that drinks well, has good cellaring potential and is a good introduction into the region if you have never forayed there. 91 points and 4 stars. Salut….