If your first reaction to the title was utter confusion, it’s okay. Most of it is, in fact, written in French. Chateauneuf du Pape [shah toe nuf dew pahp] (audio pronunciation) is a blended wine that can be comprised of up to 13 different grape varieties, the majority being Grenache. “Vieilles Vigne” means old vines. I have to warn that Chateauneuf du Pape, and Rhone wines in general (where this is from) are addictingly delicious…and not cheap. We recently had this bottle on our sisters trip to move Jaime out to Denver. We were lucky to have one magnum (=double size bottle of wine) available in my cellar, perfect for the last night of a great trip!
Technicals: 75% Grenache, 15% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre, Cinsault, Vaccareze and Muscardin
First Impression: Strong, deep and dark aromas emerge from the glass with hints of blackberry, black cherry and chocolate.
Taste: Complexity that only Chateauneuf du Pape can over. Soft, supple tannins that provide structure but not bitter dryness. Flavors of cherry, bitter chocolate, spiced orange, and licorice. Lingering and remaining flavors of the wine last on the palette for at least sixty seconds – a sign of an impressive wine.
Special Notes: This wine is produced by one of the top small production facilities in the Southern Rhone region of France. They are consistently given top ratings by wine critics (usually ranked on a 100 point scale) for all off their selections. This wine, in particular, is a great bargain for the for the quality of wine you get. Chateauneuf du Pape is one of the most premier, and often expensive, styles of wine in the world. Ratings include 94 points from Robert Parker, 94 points from the Rhone Report, 92 points from the International Wine Cellar, and 91 points from Wine Spectator.
Pairing Tips: Chateauneuf du Pape is usually not made with harsh, new oak lending it to lighter foods and flavors like veal, lamb, fish, poultry and Mediterranean flavors. Try it with our favorite dishes: Veal Meatballs in Marinara; Spicy Dijon Lamb Chops with Blackberry Sauce; Skinny Shepherd’s Pie
Buy: Clos St Jean Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vigne, 2009, $39.99 (on sale!)