DOMAINE GIRAUD 2005 95pt et CLOS SAINT JEAN combe des fous 99pt by JEB DUNNUCK

Dinner with Friends
February 2014
Jeb Dunnuck

This was another casual winter evening spent with great friends at our place here in Colorado. The week had been especially cold, so we started a fire in the fireplace, opened some big reds and went with classic bistro fare.

Starting off with a bottle from one of my favorite Champagne producers, the 2007 Vilmart Grand Cellier d’Or showed fabulously, with great aromatics and impressive richness and texture. It’s a big, full-flavored effort and a superb bottle of bubbly. To go with a mixed greens salad (and assorted appies), the 2011 Dagueneau Blanc Fume de Pouilly Silex worked nicely, yet lacked some of the vibrancy that this cuvee normally possesses. Showing the expected lively, tangy acidity and liquid minerality that’s the hallmark of this cuvee, it was surprisingly soft, supple and easygoing on the palate. Outstanding, but far from riveting, and at the going rate, it’s what you should get.

Moving to the reds, I went with two Châteauneuf du Papes and one Grenache from California’s Central Coast, all of which performed brilliantly. Leading off and paired with a classic soupe à l’oignon, the 100% Grenache 2005 Domaine Giraud Châteauneuf du Pape Les Grenaches de Pierre was tight and slightly closed right on opening, yet blossomed in the glass. Starting to show some evolution aromatically, it offered full-bodied richness on the palate, loads of fruit and fine, polished tannin on the finish. It has classic Châteauneuf du Pape character and the depth and richness to continue drinking nicely for another decade. Moving to the main course of roasted chicken(s) and root vegetables, the 2009 Clos Saint-Jean Chaâteauneuf du Pape la Combe des Fous (60% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% each of Vaccarese and Cinsault) was open and ready to go, with an incredible bouquet, full-bodied richness and a seamless, sexy feel. This estate hasn’t missed a step in a while, and this beauty manages the warmth of the vintage flawlessly with sweet tannin and blockbuster length. Showing every bit as impressive as it did on release, it went perfectly with the food and is easily one of the top wines in the vintage. In addition, I doubt it will ever shut down, and when all is said and done, it should have upwards of two decades of total longevity. Lastly, and a wine I’ve been lucky enough to have numerous times recently, the 2004 Sine Qua Non Ode to E (Grenache) offered an extraordinary bouquet of crème de cassis, graphite, melted licorice and assorted wild herbs to go with a full-bodied, seamless and elegant profile that has jaw dropping purity and depth. Still shockingly youthful and fresh, it has a least another decade to go, yet when a wine is showing this good, I see no reason to wait.

A great time all around, and at the end of the evening, all of the bottles were empty… always a good sign.


Course 1: – Mixed Greens
Course 2: – French Onion Soup
Course 3: – Roasted Chicken with root vegetables
Vintage Wine Rating
2007 Vilmart et Cie Brut Premier Cru Cuvee Grand Cellier d’Or 93
2011 Louis-Benjamin Dagueneau Blanc Fume de Pouilly Silex 90
2005 Domaine Giraud Châteauneuf du Pape les Grenaches de Pierre 95
2009 Clos Saint-Jean Châteauneuf du Pape la Combe des Fous 98
2004 Sine Qua Non Ode To E (Grenache) 100

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