Category Archives: Chateauneuf du Pape

2001 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape

2001 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape

 

Now here is a wine I can get behind. I am a huge Beau fan and the 2001 is my favorite vintage of the past 20 years. 00, 98, and 95 are great and I think the 2010 has serious potential. With all Beau beware of brett…especially in the 95. I really liked where this wine was when we drank it. The nose and flavors on the palate were a perfect match: dark fruits and spices leading into rich earth and leather….classic CdP. Tannis are just right. Great layers and complexity on the palate…makes you completely forget it’s 13.5% alcohol. The finish is long and strong (ha) wrapping up the experience in a nice little bow. This is ready to drink now…right where I like my CdP…but still has plenty of time left. One of the best wines of 2013. Right now I’m leaning towards 89 Pichon, 01 Beau, and 99 Montruc as my top 3.

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Dinner Grape Style Part II

The gang was back together again at Aunt and UncleGrape’s house on Saturday night for another spectacular dinner. We were joined by CousinGrapette, BoyfriendGrape, as well as SisterGrape who took a trip from school to join us. Fresh off our trips to Union Square, Eataly, and of course the Wine Library we got to work on dinner. Here was our menu:

Appetizers: Smoked duck breast, wild boar salami, goat cheese with rosemary olive sourdough bread, daikon radish with hummus or spicy brown mustard and Hawaiin volcano sea salt.

Main Course: Roasted boneless leg of lamb infused with garlic and rubbed with spicy brown mustard.

Dessert: Italian cookies with pistachio cream spread and assorted chocolates.

NV Guy Larmandier Champagne2011 Gilbert Picq Chablis

With the appetizers we decided to go with French whites. We started with the NV Guy Larmandier 1er Cru Champagne which was crisp, light, refreshing and had just the right amount of bubbles. That was followed by the 2011 Gilbert Picq Chablis which was similar to the Champagne w/o the carbonation. I probably favored the Champagne over the Chablis and Moby did for sure. I learned that Vielles Vignes means old vines after I butchered trying to say it in front of UncleGrape who speaks fluent French. While the duck  and boar probably could have stood up to a light red the whites went well with everything. The duck was tender with just the right amount of smoke and the boar had an interesting sweetness to go along with good texture. The goat cheese paired well with the bread for a creamy mouthful of food. The daikon was very interesting…to me it tasted like a crunch wafer made of mushrooms and onion but it worked well with the smooth hummus and red volcano salt. All the appetizers were promptly destroyed and it was time to move onto the main course.

April 2013 NJ CdP

Since I got my hands on some 1995 Chateau de Beaucastel recently I brought a bottle and we decided to go a horizontal tasting of 1995 Chateauneuf du Pape.

1. 1995 Domaine de Beaurenard Boisrenard

2. 1995 Chateau de Beaucastel

3. 1995 Domaine de la Janasse

We started the meal a little bit later than anticipated because we didn’t realize the lamb was still partially frozen in the center. Not a problem for the Grape family as we had plenty of wine to keep us busy. We started with the Boisrenard which was surprisingly still tight. UncleGrape explained that 1995’s were historically tight but while it still had solid fruit coming through a bunch of us thought this was a bit too tight still. I’d love to try it again in 5-10 years.

We then moved on to the Beaucastel which had a very distinct old bandaid smell to it. Sounds appetizing right? It was delicious! UncleGrape filled us in on the smell…it’s called “brett”. Brett is a type of yeast called Brettanomyces that can be found on the skin of fruit and therefore in wine. Small amounts of brett are generally regarded as good for the flavor of the wine however large amounts can cause problems. That being said the Beaucastel was very bretty. AuntGrape is notorious for loving bretty wines so it’s no surprise she loved it the most. We enjoyed it too and it was an educational experience.

Lastly we had the Janasse. Our last trip we had the 2000 which was good but not the best of the night however I’d argue for the 95 taking the show this time. I thought it had the most balance but not everyone agreed with me.

We couldn’t come to a consensus on the Chateauneuf like we did last time with the 2000 Charvin stealing the show. Here’s how we ranked them:

colonelgrape: 3-2-1

MobyGrape: 3-1-2

UncleGrape: 1-2-3

AuntGrape (brett lover): 2-3-1

Since Moby and I write the blog we’re going to declare the Janasse the winner but it was a split decision for sure. The one thing we all agreed on though is that the 1989 Parusso Bussia Barolo was the wine of the weekend. The Chateauneuf was great but the Barolo outclassed them all.

Cocchi Barolo Chinato

Last but not least AuntGrape treated us all to a very rare (and previously illegal in the United States) Italian digestif…Cocchi Barolo Chinato. Having never heard of it Moby and I were all in. We learned that Barolo Chinato is a standard barolo infused with spices and most importantly quinine which why it was illegal in the United States as that’s a drug found in prescription medications! The spices and quinine give it a gin like, piney taste to go along with some sweetness. On it’s own we weren’t huge fans but when paired with dark chocolate it was spectacular. Something about the combination worked wonders. We  also had the Italian cookies and pistachio cream spread which was crazy good. The spread was a honey like consistency but had a sweetness to go along with the strong pistachio taste. We liked the wine much better with the chocolate than the cookies and spread but we both would have eaten the spread right out of the jar it was that good.

We concluded our trip next morning by making breakfast with the duck, turkey, and pheasant eggs which was great. The duck was probably the most different having a huge yolk and slightly different texture, the others tasted similar to a chicken egg just different sizes. We learned about brett and Barolo Chinato, had great food, great wine, and spent time with family so all in all it was a great trip. Keep an eye out for that 1989 Parusso!!!

2010 Bosquet des Papes Chateauneuf du Pape

2010 bosquet des papes cdp

colonelgrape: 93. This bottle didn’t wow me like the 2007 but this is a quality bottle. 2010 was a very strong year and this bottle is findable at $35-45. With top producers selling for $100+ this is a crazy good value. Tight and young, full bodied, black raspberry/cherry/and currant. Classic Rhone spices and earth. This is more in line with a typical CdP wheras the 2007 was more unique. It was approachable now but I think this will drink better in 5-10 years. For the price I’d recommend a case and cellaring it.

MobyGrape: 90. What a difference a few years make!  If you’re anything like me, you scoff at the snots that talk about “how much better the 2007 was than the 2008, and Buffy, can you gas up the jet?  I think I’ll weekend at the estate in Monaco!”.  Most of the time I think they’re full of it.  Sadly, I have to admit that it’s true.  The 2007 is night and day compared to this 2010.  They had some similar notes of #2 pencil but this one wasn’t as earthy and deliciously grungy.  Still a great drink though.  Now somebody find Buffy, the jet needs gas!

2010 Domaine Galevan Chateauneuf du Pape Saint-Georges

Domaine Galevan CdP Saint Georges 2010pope

Chateauneuf du Pape translates to House of the Pope and with the election of Pope Francis we thought it would be appropriate to enjoy a CdP with dinner the other night. This is our second bottle from our most recent Wine Library order and it’s a 100% Grenache CdP from Domaine Galevan which is a small yet well known estate in southern Rhone. The 2009, 2010, and 2011 have all earned critical acclaim which has driven the price up to $80 a bottle however I was able to grab it for $60.

colonelgrape: 95. Definitely a younger wine…a little rough around the edges but the foundation is strong and this wine is going to round into shape in the next few years. Being 100% Grenache it has a slightly different taste than other CdP’s. Dark fruit, leather, and earth come through on the palate with a nice long finish. It’s very drinkable now but this is a wine worth cellaring as it’s only going to get better and better. Every 2010 CdP or CdR I’ve had so far has been excellent…if you see any 2010 from a good producer at a good price snatch up all you can, the price is only going to go up.

MobyGrape: 88. Habemus Papam! In honor of a new pope, it seemed only fitting to have a wine with a Pope hat on it. It was carefully selected in the basement after a series of secretive meetings and, once chosen, I set dinner on fire and smoke filled the kitchen.  Maybe that’s not quite what happened but whatever, the wine was well-timed and tasty.  It was young and not quite as smooth as some of the cdp’s we’ve had, but it was delicious nonetheless.

2006 Les Vignes D’Alexandre Chateauneuf du Pape

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Our first…and our last…foray into inexpensive Chateauneuf du Pape. I found this bottle at Wegman’s for $27 and while that may not seem inexpensive, it is for CdP which runs $40+ for a decenet bottle. CdP producers typically focus on Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre but in the more inexpensive bottles you’ll see the focus shift to the lesser grapes of the region leading to inferior wines. In the long run if you see a bottle that’s priced significantly below the normal price range for that type there’s probably a reason. You might find a diamond in the rough but more often than not you’re going to be disappointed. When searching for value wines I recommend doing some research online or talking with trusted employees at the store.

colonelgrape: 64. I have to give this wine a below average rating. It’s not appalling, but it’s simply my least favorite Chateauneuf I’ve tasted to date. Not much to add to my initial statement other than if you’re going to drink CdP pay close attention to vintages, years, producers, and price. These are pricey wines right now and I’d recommend spending the extra $15-$20 to get a quality bottle.

MobyGrape: 75. I was underwhelmed by this one.  I’ve been so spoiled by the Colonel giving me great Chateauneuf’s I was surprised.  There wasn’t anything really wrong with it, just didn’t get me going like some of the others we’ve tasted.  I still ran around the house yelling “Chateauneuf du Pape!” over and over though, so at least there was that…