Visiting Chateauneuf du Pape Clos des Papes, Beaucastel and others


Tuesday, July 1

Visiting Chateauneuf du Pape brought me to Clos des Papes, Beaucastel, Avignon & more…

07 Clos des Papes rocks! I tasted multiple samples today. Probably from 6 to 8 different samples in all. It was one of the finest examples of 07 Chateauneuf I tasted. If you like elegant, ripe, powerful wines of character, you will want to be all over this vintage. Also, Vincent loves the 03 and does not understand the controversy about the wine on the board. He offered to pop one today, but as he wanted to give it one hour of air, and I did not have the time, it did not work out. 06 & 05 Clos des Papes are good, but to me, 07 smokes both vintages. When asked why Vincent does not produce a special cuvee, he replied the beauty of Chateau comes through the blending and he did not want to change that at his estate. As he likes blends, perhaps he also loves Bordeaux. I will have to ask him next time I see him.

Vieille Julienne Reserve is one of the top wines in a region filled with great wine. If I was forced to pick a favorite between 05 & 06, it would be a difficult choice. But with bottles of both wines open and ready to taste, I did not have to choose. I drank both!

05 Vieille Julienne Reserve is opaque ruby in color. Pepper, blackberry and plums are kissed with spice; Massive concentration and an expansive finish make this a show stopper. 98+ Why is it not 100? Because  00 & 01 are better.

06 Vieille Julienne Reserve is deeply colored. Licorice, herbs, black fruit take over your nose while your mouth is filled with a blast of ripe fruit that seems to squirt all over your palate. WOW!!!

05 was more closed and 06 was more expressive. It will be fun to compare these in a decade when both vintages are mature.

I also tasted 03, 04, 05 & 06 VJ Chateauneuf. 05 & 06 are much better wines than the earlier vintages.

05 Vieille Julienne Le Bosse Cotes du Rhone is better than most Chateauneuf from the vintage. Blind, and I did get the chance to taste it blind the following day, you would swear it was an outstanding Chateauneuf.

05 Vieille Julienne Le Bosse Cotes du Rhone is inky in color. This 480 bottle cuvee, that’s right, 480 whopping bottles were produced in 05 comes from terroir that is better than a lot of terroir from Chateauneuf. Very spicy with a good dose of cinnamom, melted blackberry and blue fruit on the nose. Tannic and packed and stacked wih dense, ripe fruit. This wine was a one time only effort and will not be produced again.

The visit to Barroche was fun. It was interesting to see what the future of Chateauneuf might hold. 07 had a lot of C02 and I could not get a handle on anything but the concentration. At least for me, I cannot make my past the gas.

06 Pure was the best of the 06 lineup. It is produced in a very ripe, huge style that some people will like more than others. It checks in at 16.3 alcohol. It is a very good wine, but it is also a lot to handle.

The trip ended with a bottle shared with Andreas Becker and his wife sitting by his pool. I brought a bottle of 90 Pegau Reserve that was off the charts.

90 Pegau Reserve ruby with brick color. Kirsch, iodine, herbs, olives, licorice and sweet black and red fruit are intoxicating to smell. In the mouth, layers of juicy, sweet, ripe fruit fill every nook and cranny of your plalate with layers of ripe srawberry, cherry and a hint of licorice. This bottle was so good I wrote… “I could suck this down all day.”

Speaking of Pegau, I tasted with Laurence before having lunch together. 07 will produce Da Capo! Samples of Da Capo were still fermenting. I also tasted 04, 05, 06 & 07 Reserve. 07 was my favorite. It had more excitement, ripeness and concentration. There was a hint of dryness in the finish, but Laurence, who is one of the most honest winemakers out there said that will change in a few years. If she says so, I believe her.

Last note as it was about the oddest experience at a tasting I have ever encountered. The domaine will remain nameless. But… I tasted a few different wines from inexpensive Cotes du Rhone to wines that have in the past hit 100 Pts. I have no problem pouring any wine not tasted back in the barrel. But, this was the first time I have even been asked to pour unused winer back into the bottle§ And this was for wines that cost under ten dollars retail and over one hundred dollars retail. I would not like to be the next guy in line!

I had a great time in Chateauneuf. I really need to spend more time there. Oh, and before I forget, the best meal in Lyon… It was a few pieces of fresh fruit and bread from the farmers marker overlooking the Rhone river. It does not get better.

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