2007 Château Fortia Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée du Baron, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2007
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-

From the ripe vintage of 2007, this bottling got just average scored from Robert Parker/ The Wine Advocate.  It is easy to see why, but that is not a reflection on quality as much as style.  This bottling was quite enjoyable but certainly an outlier from the traditional Châteauneufs.   A blend of 55% Grenache, 35% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre. Ruby in color, clear and bright.  The nose has lovely cherries with some strawberries with a hint of dried flowers and spices.  Medium bodied.  On the palate, this is elegant and lighter.  Charming might be a good descriptor.  Cherries, with slight cranbe

2004 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2004
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$125.00USD

This is yet another example of why to buy top producers in less than top vintages.  At age 17, this was drinking amazingly well.  Purple in color with ruby swirls and ruby at the rim, mostly clear and bright.  What a nose.  Black cherries, leather, slight earthiness/barnyard and even a hint of floral.  Full bodied.  Lush texture.  On the palate, this is delicious and complex.  Layers of black cherries, earth and spice.  Great balance.  Long finish.  The would appear to be at peak, so I would drink sooner than later but it should drink well for another ten to twelve years as it moves past pe

2003 Cuvée du Vatican Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Vintage: 
2003
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$60.00USD

The basic Châteauneuf from this producer from a very HOT vintage.  Truthfully, I was surprised to find this in the cellar and wasn't sure it would have held up.  Wrong.  It drank great.  Perhaps not the complexity of other vintages, but lots of delicious fruit made for a very nice drink.  Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose offers up plums, black cherries, some spice, and a bit of black olive.  Medium bodied.  Tannins all resolved.  Full bodied, smooth texture.  On the palate, plums, cherries and black cherries with slight char.  Nice finish.  This needs to be consumed sooner than

2006 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage Blanc, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2006
Grade: 
Current Price: 
$250.00USD

White Rhone wines are such a tricky thing to age.  This should have been great but alas, it wasn't.  It seemed dead on opening but eventually showed a bit of life, but not what one hopes for.  Deep gold in color.  The nose initially offers some cider notes but with air, some wax, almonds and maybe fresh apples.  Full bodied.  On the palate, not much at first but with some air, a bit of citrus and slight minerals.  Followed over tow hours or so, it just never really showed up.  It probably would pay to open early, let it breathe and if necessary, give it a decant.  If it opens up, re-cork un

2001 Domaine Charvin Châteauneuf-du-Pape, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2001
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$170.00USD

Always one of my favorite wines from the Châteauneuf.  They have a more elegant style.  Deep garnet in color, clear and bright.  The nose has cherries, garrique, licorice, and meaty notes.  Full bodied.  On the palate, this is complex and also delicious.  Cherries, black cherries with underlying earthiness and some pepper.  Long finish.  This drinks well alone but really deserves a nice meal, perhaps some meaty stew.  This bottle seemed at peak at age 20 but could go another five years at this level.  

2011 Domaine les Pallières Gigondas Terrasse du Diable, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2011
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-

This wine is proof that good producers make good wine even in challenging vintages.  It is mostly 85% Grenache with the rest Mourvedre and Clairette.  Deep ruby in color, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose is nice with cherries and black cherries, char and slight floral notes.  Medium bodied.  On the palate, this is chewy with fresh cherry fruit.  Some underlying char.  Quite tasty.  Long finish.  This is at peak now and should be drunk over the next five years.  A nice drink on its own, it will work better with food.  Stews, chili or meatloaf would work well.  

1991 M. Chapoutier Ermitage Blanc De L'Orée, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Vintage: 
1992
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$200.00USD

White Rhone wines are certainly unique and this one, at age 30, is no exception.  I quite enjoyed it for what it offered.  Golden in color, clear and bright.  The nose is interesting with pears, Crème Brûlée, honey countered by a bit of oxidation and minerality.  Full bodied and quite rich.  On the palate, it has a deep complexity.  Some fruit; baked pears with layers of minerals and some oxidized apples (not in a bad way).  Long finish.  This was served with a Gazpacho and it worked well enough for a difficult pairing.  It seems like it will be at this level for a while longer, but it shou

2001 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape, France, Rhone Wine Review

Vintage: 
2001
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$110.00USD

Great showing for this top Châteauneuf-du Pape! Served side by side with Hommage a Perrin, it held its own.  Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is clean with plums, black cherries, slight balsamic, some spice and slight meatiness.  Medium to full bodied.  Great texture.  On the palate, this is fresh and vibrant but pretty much at peak although with years left.  This release as some variability, but well stored bottles should easily go another decade or more.  It drinks great on its own, this worked very well with Indian food.  

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