Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name…and they’re always glad you came.
Chateauneuf du Pape brings us back to 80’s television. It’s safe to say that Chateauneuf is our favorite wine region here at Grapestorm. It’s pricey but when you buy from a reputable producer in a good vintage you are in for a treat. It has body, structure, character, and it’s incredibly fun to say. Moby and I will literally walk around the house just saying “CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE” in our best hoity toity french voices for hours on end…we are that cool. It’s kind of a funky name so let me help you pronounce it properly: SHA-TOH-NUF DO PAHP.
Now that you know how to say it let’s talk about producers. Chateau Mont-Redon is not the best producer in CdP but their wines are of high quality at great value. A bottle of 2007 Chateau de Beaucastel, Vieux Telegraph, Vieux DonJon, or Rayas may cost you $100+ but this Mont-Redon was only $45 and worth every drop. Don’t get me wrong, the producers I just mentioned produce world class wines that are exceptional but they are tough to get your hands on at a reasonable price. One thing to be very careful of when buying a CdP is the cheap bottle from an unknown producer. These wines can be absolutely terrible and you’ve wasted $25. Why are they so bad? Because CdP is a blend of grapes (typically Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre…Cinsault, Counoise, Muscardin, Terret Noir, and Vaccarese are also allowed) and inferior producers use more of the inferior grapes to save money. I can’t recommend CdP enough but you need to do your research before going to the store. I have yet to have a good CdP that cost under $40. Our two favorite “value” producers are Chateau Mont-Redon and Bosquet des Papes.
Vintage is also very important when buying CdP. Wines can vary vintage to vintage in CdP more so than in other regions. Recent good vintages: 98, 00, 01, 05, 07, 10. Avoid any 02 or 08 you may find. 2007 was an especially interesting year in Chateauneuf du Pape…it was an extremely hot summer so the grapes were riper than normal producing a bigger, more alcoholic, more fruit forward wine. Many people taut it as one of the best vintages of all time while some people don’t like it because it was so different. The way I see it if you like California Cabernet you’ll like 2007 Chateauneuf. You’ll have to be the judge for yourself!
colonelgrape: 97. Wow. This wine is out of this world and for only $45. A beautiful ruby color with smells of ripe plums and earth. On the palate it was medium bodied with tastes of ripe black fruits and berries with acidity to balance everything out. The tannins weren’t out of control but it was definitely more ripe and boozy than a usual CdP but it worked well. The finish was long and delicious. We had this wine with roast beef and mashed potatoes and it was a great pairing. This will stand up to roasted meat and vegetables all night long. One of the best wines I’ve had in recent memory at this price point.
MobyGrape: 96. The first thing that came to mind when drinking this wine is that it was sort of hollow. Like there was an excellent smooth flavor up front, gave your mouth an awesome party, and then sort of poofed and left a superb, lingering flavor. And maybe it was all the wine or the poofing but all I could think of was David Copperfield. This wine is like David Copperfield. You get a magical show that will dazzle your tastebuds and then poof! The sip of wine is already gone but the flavor is still deliciously hanging around and somehow he pulled a duck out of a hat. Bravo! I’m told 2007 was a bit of a goofy year for Chateaneuf’s, and some people aren’t a fan. I think I should change my rating because you know what, maybe no one else should drink this, I don’t want anyone risking it. I’ll just take one for the team and drink all of them myself. Go ahead, send all of your 2007’s to me.