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2004 Clos des Pape Chateauneuf du pape

February 4, 2013 Leave a comment

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In the same line up of wines I had on SAT, the last wine before Chateau d’Yquem 2000 was this excellent example of Chateauneuf du pape. The wine was popped and poured, and was not probably left to breath enough time. There were probably not more than 60 minutes left in the decanter and it certainly needs more. Luckily there were some leftovers on the second day and I could get a better idea about it.

2004 Clos des Papes Chateauneuf du pape

Dark red – saturated ruby color. From the first pour in the glass the nose betrays an extremely young wine. The nose is almost undeveloped and if you would not know the vintage you could swear you are tasting a 2009 or 2010.

Not even prolonged aeration or having it on the second day doesn’t move this wine into a more developed stage. There are aromas of sweet red and black cherry, Indian spices and a mix of herbs: sage, thyme and lavender, but the wine needs to spend longer time in bottle. It is full bodied on the palate – for a Chateauneuf du pape it might qualify as medium to full body, a smooth texture of fine grained tannins that makes the wine already pleasant to drink, flavors of raspberry, strawberry and red cherry jams, white pepper and showing a powerful character on the long spicy and Grenache like red fruit finish. I would not open the next bottle for at least another 4-5 years. Regarding aging potential, this has at least another 20-30 years of life ahead. 14.5 % (93/100)

2006 Chateau Vieux Lazaret Cuvee Exceptionnelle Chateauneuf du pape

October 23, 2012 5 comments

Another great wine from my busy last weekend. I am a big fan of Chateauneuf du pape and I am a sucker for well aged Grenache. Perhaps it is not the case for this relatively young 2006, but still, the wine has everything that you hope to find in a good Chateauneuf du pape: richness, balance and complexity.

2006 Chateau Vieux Lazaret Cuvee Exceptionnelle Chateauneuf du pape

It has a deep, saturated red color and it is certainly not the case to discuss any signs of aging here. The nose is well developed, really intense and evolving as the wine makes contact with the air. It is initially rather close and shows some yeasty aromas, but as it breathes over 2 hours, it gains depth and shifts from a ripe character of flamboyant sweet red fruit and red fruit jams to a more classic one with black olives paste, garrigue, black pepper and tar. Full bodied, with smooth texture and ripe tannins, well structured and balanced, it shows good richness on the palate. Long finish, spicy, with some lingering flavors of sweet ripe blackberry. At 14.5% alc the wine is really smooth, classic and pleasant to enjoy. Definitely not a body builder wine like so many recent examples of modern Chateauneuf du pape. (91/100)

It is a wine that can convert people into liking wine. I remember first time I started to discover wine a few years ago, I was looking for richness above any other things. This is a sweet compromise where one finds both richness and balance in a classic style. Chateau Vieux Lazaret Cuvee Exceptionnelle is imported into Romania by Cramele Recas.

Impressive vertical of Domaine du Pegau Cuvee Reservee Chateauneuf du pape: 2004 – 2007

I attended a friend’s birthday party last night, also a passionate wine lover, and I was fortunate to taste an impressive line-up of wines from a producer  I absolutely love. Domaine du Pegau maintains a classic style of wine-making, the wines not only age superbly, but they have a certain freshness and very good ability to drink, unlike the more modern, fat and heady Chateauneuf’s.

I already tasted a couple of times the 2004 Cuvee Reservee of Domaine du Pegau and always found it just a fabulous wine. Last night’s vertical consisted of 4 different vintages: 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. All four vintages were different in Chateauneuf du pape and the wines perfectly reflect those characteristics.

– 2004 was a bit cooler and produced more mineral wines with great freshness;

– 2005 was superb – just as in the rest of France, the wines have structure and will age long;

– 2006 a good vintage, but shadowed by the quality of 2005;

– 2007 a superb vintage in Chateauneuf du pape and generally the Rhone valley – unlike the rest of France, producing wines with perfectly ripe tannins, hedonistic fruit and amazing accessibility already.

After tasting the four wines, I can make the following remarks:

– 2004 and 2005 have the most similarities: fine grained tannins, great freshness and a touch more mineral character.

– both 2006 and 2007 have assertive and more pronounced tannins, bigger and riper fruit, while the texture shows more concentration on the palate.

My absolute favorite was 2004 followed by 2007, 2005 and 2006 in this order.

2004 Domaine du Pegau Cuvee Reservee Chateauneuf du pape

Saturated red ruby color. Superb nose, well developed, intense and very expressive, combining fresh red fruits with game, meat, graphite and spices. Full bodied, with a killer acidity, this wine has the minerality and the character of a Northern Rhone Syrah (reminded me of 2006 Thierry Allemand Reynard Cornas: odd but lovely !), savoury, long and really delicious. Long finish, with great freshness and some lovely thyme and sage flavors. This is fully accessible now and just a pleasure to drink. Will continue to age well also. 14% alc. (94+/100)

2005 Domaine du Pegau Cuvee Reservee Chateauneuf du pape

This wine was uncorked early in the morning, then re-corked and placed in the fridge for a slow oxygenation until 18:30 when we drank it. Even in these conditions, the wine still seems to hide more secrets.

Same saturated ruby red color. Well developed and intense nose, but not having the same palette of aromatics as 2004. It shows great fresh red fruit, spices and probably less meaty, but still resembles the 2004. Full bodied, with fine grained tannins and more structured in the mouth, the wine combines red berry fruits, spices, thyme, a touch of graphite and licorice with a lively acidity and welcoming freshness. Long finish, but not as convincing as 2004. 14% alc. (92-93/100)

2006 Domaine du Pegau Cuvee Reservee Chateauneuf du pape

Darker red color. It is the only wine that shows very ripe, almost prunes like aromas. This can be a bit tiring compared to the other wines. Rich, very ripe fruit, licorice, prunes and spicy aromas on the nose. Full bodied, it seems more concentrated and very spicy on the palate compared to ’04 and ’05, assertive and bigger tannins in the mouth, and a medium plus long spicy finish. A bigger wine, even though the alcohol stays at the same 14%. (91-92/100)

2007 Domaine du Pegau Cuvee Reservee Chateauneuf du pape

Dark red-ruby color. Well developed and expressive nose, it exhibits a beautiful definition of red fruit. Spices, chocolate, herbs and licorice gradually build on the nose . Full bodied, assertive, ripe and sweet tannins, balanced, combining freshness and concentration, this wine shows vibrant fruit, savoury spices and a lush palate. Long, racy and spicy finish. Up to an extent, this is 2004 packed with more fruit and more muscle. Still a baby but it will develop very well in time. 14% alc. (94-95/100)

It was certainly a compelling tasting experience from a producer that continues to make stunning, classical Chateauneuf du pape wines. Bring me more please.

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