Location: Beverly Hills
Date: April 25, 2014
Cuisine: New American
Who says wine is just for diner, today I was invited to a Châteauneuf-du-Pape themed lunch with food cooked by chef Kevin Meehan of Kali Dining. Who says you can’t drink before 5?!?
2012 Mas de Gourgonnier Les Baux-de-Provence Rosé. Hard to find, but a picture perfect afternoon wine.
1978 Château Mont-Redon Châteauneuf-du-Pape. 91 points. View from the Cellar 95. Medium garnet colour, very bright and clear. Mature nose of medium intensity, with dried fruit, wet cedar wood and earthy forest floor, incense and sweet spice. Palate is medium bodied, elegant and velvety with dried plummy fruit, notes of chocolate, some floral nuances and sweet spice. Finish is medium with just a hint of tannins. Acidity is medium and mouthfell is velvety. Complete mature and complex wine, lovely.
1981 Chateau Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape. Parker 95. One of the all-time great classics, the 1981 is fully mature and should be consumed. It’s a big, sweet, candied fruit bomb offering notes of smoke, pepper, dried herbs, truffles, leather, cedar, as well as black and red currants. Full-bodied and opulent, it is one of the most delicious, complex, and stunning Beaucastels ever made. Anyone who has magnums of this wine has the equivalent of liquid gold. Out of regular bottle, I would recommend consumption over the next several years. agavin: pretty wow for a 33 year old CNDP!
From my cellar: 1985 Chateau Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape. Parker 91-93. One of the most charming Beaucastels since it was first bottled (and still holding on today), is the gorgeous 1985. Its medium ruby color reveals considerable amber/pink at the edge. This offering demonstrates that a wine does not need a lot of tannin and power to age well; it’s all about balance. Velvety-textured, opulent, sweet, and appealing, this remains a classic Beaucastel.
1990 Chateau Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape. Parker 96. Two great back to back vintages are the 1990 and 1989. The more developed 1990 boasts an incredible perfume of hickory wood, coffee, smoked meat, Asian spices, black cherries, and blackberries. Lush, opulent, and full-bodied, it is a fully mature, profound Beaucastel that will last another 15-20 years.
Foie Gras truffles. They look like chocolate truffles, but each is a solid ball of foie! With truffles, asparagus, and various flowers. Paired perfectly too.
1989 Les Cailloux (Lucien et Andre Brunel) Chateauneuf du Pape. Parker 88. Les Cailloux’s regular cuvee has evolved into a blend of 65% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah, and 5% miscellaneous varietals aged both in barrel and foudre. The backward 1989 appears to be fully mature. More narrowly constructed than the 1990, it offers up notes of soy, seaweed, lavender, black cherries, figs, and plum-like fruit in a medium-bodied, structured, but delicious style.
1990 Domaine de Beaurenard Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Boisrenard. Parker 95. This wine saw a small amount of aging in new oak cask, resulting in a more international style when released. Still youthful, the dense ruby/purple-colored 1990 exhibits a classy nose of black fruits, spice box, vanillin, and kirsch liqueur. Full-bodied and pure, with a subtle touch of oak, this fleshy, stylized, yet authoritatively flavorful, rich Chateauneuf du Pape has reached its plateau of maturity, where it should remain for 7-8 years.
Venison Carpaccio. Another perfect 10 pairing.
1998 Pierre Usseglio Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee de Mon Aieul. Parker 94-98. The 1998 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee du Mon Aieul is close to full maturity. Dark plum/garnet, with a nose of licorice, lavender, seaweed, blueberry, and black raspberry, the wine is full-bodied, still very fresh, but complex, with silky tannins and a broad, savory mouthfeel. Everything seems resolved, and the wine looks to be at its peak of complexity. It should hold here for another 3-4 years, but last easily for 10-12. In terms of the best vintages of Mon Aieul, I would have to rank the 2003, 2006, and 2007 superior to the 1998, which was the debut vintage of this cuvee from proprietors Jean-Pierre and Thierry Usseglio.
2000 Pierre Usseglio Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee de Mon Aieul. Parker 95. The profound 2000 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee de Mon Aieul (85% Grenache and the rest equal parts Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cinsault) tips the scales at 15% alcohol. From an old vineyard and cropped at 15 hectoliters per hectare, and aged only in foudre, it boasts a dense purple color in addition to an exquisite nose of violets, minerals, blueberries and blackberries. Pure and concentrated, but atypically tannic, it requires considerable aging as it is one of the vintage’s more backward, broodingly powerful efforts. Anticipated maturity: 2006-2020.
2001 Pierre Usseglio Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee de Mon Aieul. Parker 97. The 2001 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee de Mon Aieul (85% Grenache and equal parts Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cinsault) tips the scales at a prodigious 15.8% alcohol. Half of the wine is aged in neutral wood foudres and the other half in tank prior to being bottled unfined and unfiltered. The sources for Mon Aieul are three vineyard parcels with vines averaging between 75 and 87 years of age. The 2001 is much more structured and backward than the 2000, 1999, or 1998. The color is a dense purple, and the bouquet offers sweet but reserved aromas of blackberries, raspberries, crushed rocks, and kirsch liqueur. It possesses superb texture, enormous body, and tremendous purity as well as overall symmetry. The tannin is high, but it is largely concealed by the wealth of fruit and extract. Give it 3-4 years of cellaring, and drink it over the following 15-18. This fabulous 2001 will provide fascinating comparisons when tasted alongside the 2000, 1999, and 1998 over the next 10-15 years.
2003 Pierre Usseglio Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee de Mon Aieul. Parker 97. Deep, layered and rich, the 2003 Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee de mon Aieul is comprised almost all of Grenache and always comes from three lieux-dits: La Crau, Guigasse and Les Serres. Aged all in tank and showing none of the negative traits of the vintage, it has a rich, meaty bouquet of semi-mature red and black fruits, wild herbs, melted licorice, dusty minerality and roasted beef. Full-bodied, gorgeously pure and seamless, with solid underlying structure and a core of sweet fruit, it is a brilliant wine. I don’t see any upside to holding bottles, yet given the balance, richness and mid-palate depth, it should continue to hold for another 5-8 years and certainly drink nicely well past that.
Mushroom risotto with parmesan crisp. Yum!
2000 Domaine du Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Reservee. Parker 95. The 2000 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Reservee may be one of the few 2000s that is better than its 1998 counterpart. A deep ruby/purple color is accompanied by sweet aromas of creme de cassis, kirsch liqueur, cedar, licorice, and pepper. It smells like an open-air Provencal market. Sweet, fat, opulent, and voluptuous, with fabulous fruit concentration, sweet tannin, and a long, 45+ second finish, this powerful, deep, seamless 2000 is impeccably well-balanced. A tour de force in traditional Chateauneuf du Pape, it is accessible now, but should age easily for 15-20 years.
1998 Domaine de la Mordoree Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee de la Reine des Bois. Parker 98-99. This wine went through a long closed period. It was sensational to drink a year or two after bottling, then the wood tannins in the wine’s structure took over. It remained in that state until about two years ago, when it began to slightly open up, and now it seems to be coming into full form. It still has a good 10 years of upside, and potentially 20 more years of drinkability. Still dense ruby/purple, with notes of blueberry liqueur intermixed with graphite, smoke, crushed rock, and white flowers, the wine is full-bodied, beautifully pure, and all evidence of any barrique aging has been completely assimilated into the wine’s fruit and character. This is a beauty that is just now living up to its full potential. Bravo!
1998 Henri Bonneau Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve des Celestins. Parker 96-98. This wine is reminiscent of Roger Sabon’s Le Secret des Sabon, with a style that borders on Italian Amarone. Powerful, full-bodied, alcoholic flavors, redolent with truffle, meat juices, roasted herbs, tar, sweaty saddle leather, plum, and soy, are incredibly complex but also provocative, and no doubt controversial. In the mouth, the wine is fleshy, full-bodied, thick, and juicy, pushing the level of ripeness to the limit. A distinctive and singular effort, as all Henri Bonneau’s wines are, this wine is silky and velvety, but should continue to drink well for another 25-30 years. agavin: My WOTA (afternoon).
Filet with onion puree and potatoes. Great pairing, great dish.
1990 Domaine Deletang Montlouis Moelleux Les Petits Boulay. 91 points. Great stuff for cheese!
Cheeses from Andrew’s Cheese shop in Santa Monica.
The lineup (minus one or two).
The gang (notice the sunny side hat fest).
Overall, a delicious afternoon — food and wine both! As a Burgundy nut, a often forget all the Châteauneuf-du-Pape in my cellar, but it’s really great stuff — and so consistent. We didn’t have a mediocre wine today, just good and great ones.