Friday, September 24, 2004

Chateauneuf du Pape - September 2004

I took over our first CdP tasting, choosing all four wines. While my friends would say it was because I'm an obsessive wine geek, I really had two objectives: (1) to save some time for the less vinously endowed (i.e. cellar-less) individuals in the group, and (2) to compare wines from the same vintage (i.e. to let the producer, rather than the vintage, show through).

These were from the 1999 CdP vintage - a good vintage sandwiched between the 'extraordinary' 1998 and 2000 CdP vintages. The wines were terrific - here are the notes:

First Place: 1999 Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe 'La Crau'
This was everyone else's favourite by a wide margin. I was the lone dissenter on this wine - while my scores for the four wines were close, this was my least favourite. I described the nose as very smooth, with hints of berries, flowers and nuts. The taste was tannic and uncomplex, with a medium body and medium lenghth. To sum it up: "Easy, tannic, but nothing special". 'Nuff said. However, I would be remiss if I did not tell you this was the relative bargain - at C$39 it was the second cheapest CdP of the night. (RP-88)

Second Place: 1999 Mas de Boislauzon
I seem to be going in reverse order vs. my peers! This was my 2nd least favourite. I described the nose as bold, smooth, with blueberries and chocolate. The taste was elegant but uncomplex, with a medium body and medium to long finish. From my notes: "Very enjoyable, but not very special". This was another relative bargain at C$34 - the cheapest of the night. (RP-88)

Third Place: 1999 Bosquet des Papes "Cuvee Chantemerle"
Now to the good stuff! This was my favourite. I described the nose as "oakier", with scents of apples, leather and mushrooms. On the palate the wine was "very well balanced", with a medium body and medium to long finish. Yum. This was pricey - C$65. (RP-91)

Fourth Place: 1999 Chateau de la Gardine "Cuvee des Generations"
This cost an arm and a leg, and was supposed to be my 'ringer'. My peers were less positive on this wine, but it was my 2nd favourite. A very complex and "earthy" nose, with scents of blueberries, currants, vanilla, caramel and licorice. It was a bit disappointing on the palate (after that wonderful nose!) - I found the wine to be 'hot' (i.e. high, obtrusive alcohol), oaky, and a little less balanced (than the others) . Full bodied, with a long finish. A great wine, but not a great find at this price - C$94. (RP 90-93)


You get what you pay for? While I gravitated to the more expensive wines, the ratings as a whole did not follow price. This concurs with other CdPs tastings - great CdP can be had for reasonable prices.