CLOS SAINT JEAN 2009
Jolie robe rouge brillant, couleur rouge carminée, on découvre un joli nez de confitures de fraise des bois, crème de prune noire, associer a des notes de bois de santal.
On découvre une bouche ronde, riche agréable sur des aromes de marmelade de fruits rouges des bois, avec des notes de cacao et fève de tronqua. Très belle longueur (sera encore présent dans 20 ans)
AVEC Filet de chevreuil, chutney d’olives noires, salsifis et kumquat
CLOS SAINT JEAN 2008
La robe est très légèrement tuile, sur des nuances rouge brillant et bleutées, nez fins et élégant, marquer par les épicés doux, sarriettes, poivres rouges, avec des notes de grenades et framboise. La bouche s’exprime tout en finesse et en élégance, surtout marquer par les epices, cloux de girofles, badianes, se vins est plus en longueur et finesse quand épaisseur. Il sera lui aussi présent dans une 15en d’année.
AVEC La palombe: le suprême rôti sur l’os et légumes de saison jus simple, les abatis dans son bouillon façon garbure
CLOS SAINT JEAN 2007
Se vins présente une robe profonde, rouge sang a reflet brillant, nez très délicat ,dominée par des aromes très ampiromatiques , tabac blond, coriandes,cumin associer a la pate de figues fraiche et compotes de prune sauvage.sa bouche est une superbe association entre la finesse,la puissance et l’elegance,elle presente un énorme volumes,sur des aromes de fruits aux epices,associer au bâton de réglisse et aux gousse de vanille de malagascard. ( 20 à 25 ans)
AVEC un Filet de sanglier rôti, sauce poivrade
CLOS SAINT JEAN 2003
Robe très profondes, robe parée d’encre de chine avec quelque note acajou, le nez est dominée par la pate de coing, prunes aux sirop ; compotes de figues séchées au soleil, avec des notes d’anis étoilées.la bouche est dominées par un énormes volumes, associée a des notes de sabayon de figues et dates, avec des notes d’épicées orientales, devrait être présent dans 20 ans.
AVEC LIEVRE A LA ROYALES !!!
CLOS SAINT JEAN 1990
Se vin presente une robe noir ébène et acajou, nez très ouvert, sur des notes de sous bois, truffes noire, chanterelles, sur des notes discret de petit épicés, bâton de réglisses, fenouil sauvages, la bouche est soutenu par une belle fraicheur et des tanins présent, on découvre un vins encore jeune, qui demande encore a vieillir, il est dominer par le cacao, chocolat noir avec des notes de poivre noir.
CLOS SAINT JEAN 1989
Se vin presente une robe acajou, avec des reflet brillant, le vin demande quelques temps d’ouverture dans le vere,apres des première effluves de cèpes et trompette de la mort, on découvre des aromes de liqueur de réglisse et du zan a la violette. Il presente une belle longueur, et un bon volumes, avec de léger amer et des tanins encore pressent, millésime de sècheresse, il est dominer par des aromes de cacao à 90% .un vin idéal pour les gibiers tel que la grouse ou les bécasse.
CLOS SAINT JEAN 1985
On découvre une jolie robe, rouge a reflet bois exotiques, le nez est très élégant, on découvre un nez, très agréables de marmelade d’orange et fruit noir. Associer a des aromes de cuir et notes d’humus. la bouche est marque par la fraîcheur, les tanin encore tendu, a boire sur un dessert au chocolats, canard a l’oranges, au civet de biches aux airelles, ( a boire)
CLOS SAINT JEAN 1978 (LE PERE)
Jolie robe rouge a reflet légèrement sang séchés, nez de cendre de cheminée froide, cohiba N°2, associer au épicés, carry jaune et cumin frais, le vins presente une belle élégance, de la rondeur, une bouche superbe sur des aromes de fruits sec, a la réglisse et des notes de tabac blonds et pierre a fusil, superbe sur le faisan et les grives.
CLOS SAINT JEAN 1974
Très belle robe profonde, sur des reflet caramel, anthesite.tres beau nez de sous bois, champignons des bois et cendre froide de tabac, des notes de griottes comites et cerises noires. La bouche est magnifique, dominée par la marmelade de fruit noir, associer a des notes d’épicé, écorcés d’oranges, clous de girofles et bais de genièvres, peut durée encore +de 10 ans
AVEC BECASSES A LA FICELLES
This casual restaurant is special, with a limited menu largely derived from what’s available in the market, and had everything I like about a restaurant – nice ambience, a comfortable setting, an unpretentious yet attentive staff and an excellent wine list. My meal included delicious crab cakes and an excellent bouillabaisse that was generous and filled with aromas of saffron and seafood. The wines, which were provided by all the guests, were a diverse group, but included a number of real winners.
We started with the barrel-aged Henri Giraud Fut de Chêne non-vintage champagne, which is full-bodied, somewhat reminiscent of Krug, but without any of the oxidative undertones. I really like this guy’s products, and this is not even his best cuvée. The 2011 Alban Vineyards Roussanne Estate had rose-petal and honeyed notes, was medium to full-bodied and quite good, but no stars, like the following three wines.
The 1997 Marcassin Pinot Noir Marcassin Vineyard was fully mature, showing almost like a Morey-St.-Denis-like grand cru, with Porcini mushrooms, meat, berry fruit and forest floor notes. The 2009 Domaine du Pégaü Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Rèserve had lots of horsey, sweaty notes that no doubt suggested some brett, but was dominated by the wine’s deep kirsch, cassis, licorice and garrigue components. This is a full-bodied, stunningly opulent Châteauneuf du Pape, but you have to enjoy living a little on the wild side with the brett component.
The wine of the night for me and truly one of the great, great wines from Gigondas was the 2007 Domaine St. Damien Gigondas les Souteyrades. This old vine Grenache is meticulously well-made, a massive, full-throttle Southern Rhône that is the essence of Gigondas and the Grenache grape, with no makeup, no oak, just stunning fruit depth and richness. I was blown away by this wine, even though I had scored it very highly in my report on the 2007s in The Wine Advocate.
We followed with a delicious 2008 Sette Ponti Oreno that’s a sort of new style of Tuscan red, and after that came the rather classic 2008 Bodegas Emilio Moro Malleolus de Sancho Martin, a Spanish red. Both of these were excellent.
All in all, this is a restaurant I highly recommend if you’re in the enchanted Southern town of Savannah, Georgia, a wonderful place. I could live there in a heartbeat given the culture and small-town atmosphere, yet satisfying cultural diversity that seems to exist throughout this small Southern city. Did I mention their famed southern hospitality? Kudos to proprietor Christopher Nason (who also doubles as the chef), and David Tumblin, the maître d’, for making our visit so stunning.
Sapphire Grill, Address: 100 W. Congress St., Savannah, GA 31401
Tel. +1 (912) 443-9962
Course 1: – Jumbo lump crab cake in golden potato purée
Course 2: – Sapphire Grill Bouillabaisse
Vintage Wine Rating
NV Henri Giraud Fut de Chêne 95
2011 Alban Vineyards Roussanne Estate 89
1997 Marcassin Pinot Noir Marcassin Vineyard 95
2009 Domaine du Pégaü Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Rèserve 95
2007 Domaine St. Damien Gigondas les Souteyrades 97
2008 Sette Ponti Oreno 93
2008 Bodegas Emilio Moro Malleolus de Sancho Martin 91
Clos du Caillou
The team at Clos du Caillou, from left to right: Philippe Cambie, Aude Perche, Sylvie Vacheron, Marilou Vacheron and Bruno Gaspard
This was a massive tasting with the team at Clos du Caillou and we went through each of their cuvées going back over decade. While this domaine has been in the Pouizin family since 1956, with Claude Pouizin running the estate through 1996, most of the production was solid off to négoçiants up until around 1993. In 1995, Claude’s daughter, Sylvie, married Jean-Denis Vacheron, and the couple took over the running of the estate at that time. Unfortunately, Jean-Denis died in a tragic traffic accident in 2002, and today the estate is run by Sylvie, with the wines made by Bruno Gaspard and consulting advice from Philippe Cambie. Located on the eastern edge of the appellation, in the Courthézon district, they produce up to three Châteauneuf du Papes (Les Safres, Les Quartz and the Cuvée Reserve) in any vintage. In addition, they produce a white Châteauneuf du Pape and a number of smoking Côtes du Rhônes, all of which come from vineyards bordering Châteauneuf du Pape (identical terroir actually) and are top quality.
We started the tasting with their base Châteauneuf du Pape, which comes all from Safres (sandstone) soils located around the estate. It’s always based on 50+-year-old Grenache vines (95% or higher) and is aged all in older foudre. While this cuvée is called Les Safres today, it was label as their traditional Châteauneuf du Pape up until 2005.
Starting with the 2011 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Safres, it offers a beautiful perfume of kirsch, melted licorice and flowers to go with a sexy, supple and textured profile on the palate. It’s decidedly 2011 (i.e. upfront, sweetly fruited and hedonistic) in style and should be consumed over the coming decade. Darker, richer and more concentrated, the 2010 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Safres has considerable structure and depth to go with plenty of peppery herbs, leather, licorice and darker styled fruit. Made from 100% Grenache in 2010, it has fabulous richness and texture, and will evolve gracefully for another decade. A vintage that continues to impress, the 2009 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Safres comes across as a hypothetical blend of the ’11 and ’10, with its perfumed aromatics and richer, more structured feel on the palate. It possesses layers of black cherry, licorice, herbes de Provence and earthy qualities to go with a seamless, rich and concentrated mouth feel that carries plenty of sweet tannin and blockbuster length. It will continue to shine through 2024. The only Châteauneuf produced in the vintage, the 2008 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Safres is an outstanding effort, especially in the vintage. Medium-bodied, seamless, silky and balanced, with perfumed pepper, leather, herbs and spring flowers, it shows the cooler nature of the vintage, yet scores high on sheer drinkability. I’d say drink it over the coming 3-5 years, but wouldn’t be surprised to see it continue to evolve gracefully past that, as it’s nicely balanced. The 2007 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Safres is a classic 2007 in every way. Incense, pepper, lavender, black raspberry and cassis all emerge from this sweetly fruited, seamless and hedonistic effort. It’s a big wine, but it stays remarkably elegant and fresh, with a nicely focused feel on the palate. It’s smoking good now, but will continue to thrill over the coming 7-8 years.
Sandwiched between the more hyped 2005 and 2007 vintages, the 2006 vintage produced a bevy of serious wines that show classic profiles. For the most part, the wines have never shut down and have drunk beautifully since release. The 2006 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Safres follows this trend and offers textbook roasted herbs, spice, pan drippings and sweet black cherry and currant-styled fruits that flow nicely to a full-bodied, rich, concentrated and sexy wine that will continue to evolve nicely through 2021. Still holding its cards close to the vest, the 2005 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Safres is firm and tight, with masculine dark fruits, mineral-laced earth, pepper and wild herb aromas and flavors giving way to a full-bodied, fresh, and concentrated feel on the palate. Give it another 2-3 years and drink it over the following decade. Since I had just reviewed the 2004 (rated 89) during the 2004 Châteauneuf du Pape retrospective, we skipped that vintage and went straight to the 2003 Châteauneuf du Pape. Smoking good in the vintage, with full-bodied richness and sweet tannin, it boast perfumed notes of garrigue, Asian spice, dried flowers and kirsch liqueur to go with big fruit, no hard edges and a drink me now feel. It’s drinking at point for me, and I’d consume bottles over the coming couple of years while it’s showing so well.
While the 2002s are always a significant step back, they’re still fun to taste and educational. In addition, the wines can be good when they’ve been well stored. The 2002 Châteauneuf du Pape is fully mature and evolved, yet has some textured and sweetness on the palate, as well as a balanced, medium-bodied feel. While it’s not something to seek out, it’s enjoyable and should be drunk up if you have them. The 2001 Châteauneuf du Pape is drinking perfectly, and to my mind, is getting close to full maturity. Black cherry and assorted darker fruits all mix nicely with notions of garrigue, licorice and wild herbs, and it opens up in the glass to show a medium-bodied, silky, balanced and textured style. I’m a fan and it should be consumed over the coming handful of years. Slightly more open and supple (which is common when you compare the same wine from these two vintages), the 2000 Châteauneuf du Pape is another mature, balanced and classic Châteauneuf that’s drinking at point. Exhibiting plenty of pepper, Asian spice, herbes de Provence and sweet cherry and raspberry fruit, it too should be consumed over the coming couple of years. Lastly, the 1997 Châteauneuf du Pape – like the 2008, was the only cuvée produced in the vintage – offers fully mature aromas and flavors of pepper, tobacco leaf, leather and sweet spice in a medium-bodied, nicely balanced package. It’s still enjoyable and evolving gracefully, yet was mostly like better a few years ago.
Moving to the Les Quartz Cuvée, this was first made in 1999 and comes mostly from the Les Cassanets lieu-dit, yet incorporates a small amount of Syrah from Les Bedines. It’s normally a blend of 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah, with the Grenache aged in a combination of oak tanks and foudre, and the Syrah in new barrels. While the Reserve gets most of the attention, Grenache lovers need to check out this cuvée as it always offers thrilling fruit and texture, with an exuberant, Grenache-driven style.
Starting with the 2011 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Quartz, it offers fabulous aromas and flavors of black raspberry, blackberry, toasted spice, creamy licorice and roasted meats to go with a flamboyant, hedonistic and voluptuous style. Just hard to resist, it nevertheless has solid mid-palate depth, good concentration and fine tannin, so don’t be surprised when it’s drink beautifully at age 15 as well. Even better, the 2010 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Quartz offers additional depth and richness, with ample dark fruits, blackberry, crushed rock and edgy minerality giving way to a full-bodied, big, powerful wine that won’t hit prime time for another 3-4 years. When all is said and done, it will have two decades of overall longevity. Almost as good, the 2009 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Quartz has a 2011 like perfume of sweet black raspberry, creamy licorice, lavender and spice. Full-bodied, balanced and concentrated, with rock solid underlying structure, it’s drinking nicely now, but has some upside as well. I doubt it will shut down, so drink it anytime over the coming decade or so. The incredible 2007 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Quartz is – aside from the otherworldly 2001 – the greatest example of this cuvée I’ve tasted. Full-bodied, deep, rich and concentrated, it’s also seamless and elegant, with killer black raspberry, cassis, lavender, crushed flowers and exotic spices all soaring from the glass. Still showing a youthful, unevolved profile, with serious concentration, it is approachable now due to its wealth of the texture, yet will continue to evolve gracefully. The 2006 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Quartz is another prime example of this under-the-radar vintage. A big, rich and muscular effort, it offers loads of dark fruit, mushroom, pot roast and bouquet garni in its full-bodied, layered and balanced profile. Still a little bit backwards and closed, it will be better in another year or so and drink well through 2021. As with the 2005 Les Safres release, I found the 2005 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Quartz to be structured, concentrated and serious, with big tannin and a focused feel. Showing plenty of dark fruit, crushed rock, earth and iron, it stretches out nicely on the finish and will be a long lived wine. Give it another couple years and enjoy bottles though 2028. Showing similar to when I tasted it late last year, the 2004 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Quartz offers pretty kirsch and red currants, spice, saddle leather and herbs de Provence in its full-bodied, balanced, nicely concentrated and even elegant style. In short, it’s a classic Châteauneuf that’s drinking at point. As expected, the 2003 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Quartz is a ripe, exuberant effort. Plum, figs, licorice, roasted herbs and roasted meats are just some of the nuances here, and it has full-bodied richness, good concentration and sweet tannin. Drink it over the coming couple of years. The 2001 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Quartz was a total shocker, and was easily the best bottle of this I’ve had; more than one taster at this retrospective had it as their wine of the tasting. Giving up phenomenal notes of black currants, beef blood, ground pepper and crushed rock, it flows onto the palate with full-bodied richness, outrageous concentration and a finish that just won’t quit. I’ve had a few bottles of this that possessed excessive volatile acidity, but not this bottle, and I seriously toyed with the idea of adding another point on here. Regardless, it’s profound stuff to drink over the coming 3-4 years. Lastly, the 2000 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Quartz is beautiful as well, with complex garrigue, spiced meats, bouquet garni and pepper all emerging from the glass. It has a full-bodied, open, sexy and yet concentrated feel on the palate, and I love its overall purity of fruit. While it’s more evolved than the 2001, It should still cruise for another couple of years, although certainly, there no reason to hold off.
The top release from the estate, their Réserve release was first made in 1998 and is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Mourvèdre (this is sometimes a split of Syrah and Mourvèdre) that’s aged mostly in 1, 2 and 3-year-old, 600-liter demi-muids for 18 months. Where the Les Quartz release is more exuberant and Grenache dominated (both in style and in the blend), this cuvée, which comes from mostly sandy soils, always has more elegance and polish, as well as rock star concentration and muscle. In addition, it performs beautifully in more difficult vintages as well.
As I said when I reviewed it from bottle last year, the 2011 Châteauneuf du Pape Réserve is near the top of heap in the vintage, and is a brilliant wine. Giving up classy crème de cassis, black raspberry, ground herbs and creamy licorice, it has full-bodied richness and depth to go with an open, sexy, supple style that’s hard to resist. The tannin here is present however, but is polished and sweet, so it will evolve gracefully going forward. Monumental stuff in every way, the blockbuster 2010 Châteauneuf du Pape Réserve has put on even more richness and weight than when I tasted it on release (rated 98). Inky colored, it offers up extraordinary aromas and flavors of black currants, black cherry, crushed rocks, spring flowers and melted licorice to go with a full-bodied, beautifully concentrated, dense and layered profile on the palate that needs to be tasted to be believed. It needs to be forgotten for another 4-5 years, at which point it will evolve gracefully for another two decades… It’s that good. More open and ready to go, the 2009 Châteauneuf du Pape Réserve is a perfumed, sexy wine that thrills with its cassis, candied licorice, violets, flowers and spice. Surprisingly upfront and open, yet with smoking purity of fruit and fine tannin, it can be enjoyed anytime over the coming 10-15 years.
Just another perfect wine (ho hum), the 2007 Châteauneuf du Pape Réserve is an incredible effort that matches the 2010 in terms of quality, yet has a bigger than life, richer and more over the top style. Loaded to the gills with sweet black cherry, cassis, licorice, lavender, roasted meats and creamy licorice, it hits the palate with a massive, full-bodied profile that carries awesome fruit, building, sweet tannin, incredible depth and blockbuster length. Just spectacular in every way, enjoy it anytime over the coming two decades. Seemingly more reserved and rustic (probably just because it followed the 2007…), the 2006 Châteauneuf du Pape Réserve (60% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre and 10% Syrah) offers impressive richness and depth, with plenty of toasted spice, licorice, wild herbs and earthy dark fruits. Relatively closed for a ’06, it nevertheless has serious concentration, plenty of texture and no shortage of underlying structure. Give it another year or three and drink it through 2026. The most backwards and structured in the lineup, the 2005 Châteauneuf du Pape Réserve offers thrilling amounts of blackberry, black raspberry, cassis, spice and toasted bread to go with a full-bodied, seamless, yet seriously concentrated feel on the palate. Still inky colored, and pretty much a baby in terms of development, it has building tannin, good freshness and a focused, delineated profile that will benefit from short term cellaring. I love it, and it will have over two decades of longevity. In stark contrast, the 2004 Châteauneuf du Pape Réserve was open for business, with a perfumed, layered and balanced profile that was just begging to be drunk. Made from 60% Grenache and 40% Mourvèdre, it offers plenty of black raspberry, chocolate, spring flowers and spice, full-bodied richness, and a multi-dimensional, layered and seamless style. Drink it over the coming decade. An off the charts effort that was one of my wines of the trip, the 2001 Châteauneuf du Pape Réserve is a spectacular effort that doesn’t put a foot wrong. Getting a bevy of « incredible », « spectacular », and a few other adjective (i.e. expletives) in the notes, this rock star of a Châteauneuf boasts off the hook notes of black currants, saddle leather, beef blood, pepper, spring flowers and licorice. Possessing full-bodied richness on the palate, with beautiful underlying structure and depth, this incredible effort represents the essence of this fabulous terroir, and is a thrilling drink that I wish every Rhone lover could have the opportunity to taste. With a hard act to follow, the 1999 Châteauneuf du Pape Réserve showed beautifully and gave up complex spice-box, peppery herbs, game and tobacco leaf-like aromas and flavors. A full-bodied, rich and layered Châteauneuf, it’s drinking at point, yet will continue to evolve gracefully for upwards of another decade. Lastly, the 1998 Châteauneuf du Pape Réserve would probably have been rated 100 in any other context, yet on this occasion, seemed just slightly behind the incredible trio of the 2010, 2007 and 2001. Now at age 16, it’s still youthful, but is certainly in its prime drink window. It exhibits incredible garrigue, tobacco leaf, toast and spice that are all grounded by a rocking core of fruit, and this beauty flows onto the palate with full-bodied richness, no hard edges and a sexy, seamless feel that just about makes it impossible to spit. The first release of this wine, it too is an incredible testament to the wines of this region and was a fitting end to the tasting.
Domain du Clos du Caillou 2011 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Safres 93
Domain du Clos du Caillou 2010 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Safres 94
Domain du Clos du Caillou 2009 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Safres 93
Domain du Clos du Caillou 2008 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Safres 90
Domain du Clos du Caillou 2007 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Safres 93
Domain du Clos du Caillou 2006 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Safres 92
Domain du Clos du Caillou 2005 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Safres 92
Domain du Clos du Caillou 2003 Châteauneuf du Pape 92
Domain du Clos du Caillou 2002 Châteauneuf du Pape 85
Domain du Clos du Caillou 2001 Châteauneuf du Pape 92
Domain du Clos du Caillou 2000 Châteauneuf du Pape 91
Domain du Clos du Caillou 1997 Châteauneuf du Pape 87
Domain du Clos du Caillou 2011 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Quartz 94
Domain du Clos du Caillou 2010 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Quartz 96
Domain du Clos du Caillou 2009 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Quartz 95
Domain du Clos du Caillou 2007 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Quartz 97
Domain du Clos du Caillou 2006 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Quartz 94+
Domain du Clos du Caillou 2005 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Quartz 95
Domain du Clos du Caillou 2004 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Quartz 93
Domain du Clos du Caillou 2003 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Quartz 94
Domain du Clos du Caillou 2001 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Quartz 99
Domain du Clos du Caillou 2000 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Quartz 94
Domain du Clos du Caillou 2011 Châteauneuf du Pape Réserve Le Clos du Caillou 96
Domain du Clos du Caillou 2010 Châteauneuf du Pape Réserve Le Clos du Caillou 100
Domain du Clos du Caillou 2009 Châteauneuf du Pape Réserve Le Clos du Caillou 95
Domain du Clos du Caillou 2007 Châteauneuf du Pape Réserve Le Clos du Caillou 100
Domain du Clos du Caillou 2006 Châteauneuf du Pape Réserve Le Clos du Caillou 95+
Domain du Clos du Caillou 2005 Châteauneuf du Pape Réserve Le Clos du Caillou 98+
Domain du Clos du Caillou 2004 Châteauneuf du Pape Réserve Le Clos du Caillou 94
Domain du Clos du Caillou 2001 Châteauneuf du Pape Réserve Le Clos du Caillou 100
Domain du Clos du Caillou 1999 Châteauneuf du Pape Réserve Le Clos du Caillou 95
Domain du Clos du Caillou 1998 Châteauneuf du Pape Réserve Le Clos du Caillou 99
Importers: North Berkeley Imports, Berkeley, CA; tel. (510) 848-8910; Dionysos Imports, Manassas, VA; tel. (703) 392-7073; Import Wines, Middleton, WI; tel. (608) 833-8622; and Domaine Select Wine Estates, New York, NY; tel. (212) 279-0799
jeb Dunnuck’s Guide to the Best of 2013
Best of 2013: Current Release Wines
Clos Saint-Jean 2011 Deux Ex Machina Chateauneuf Du Pape ($160-$214) (Red) Rating: 99
Domaine Giraud 2011 Les Grenaches De Pierre Chateauneuf Du Pape (unknown) (Red) Rating: 96
Chateau Saint-Cosme 2011 Hominis Fides Gigondas ($55.00-$70.00) (Red)
Chateau Beaucastel 2012 Roussanne Vieilles Vignes Blanc Chateauneuf Du Pape ($140-$183) (White) Rating: 97
Domaine De Saint-Préfert 2012 Vieilles Vignes De Clairette Blanc Chateauneuf Du Pape (unknown) (White) Rating: 96
Domaine De La Janasse 2012 Cuvee Prestige Blanc Chateauneuf Du Pape ($75) (White) Rating: 96
Best of 2013: Greatest Value Wines of the Year
Domaine les Aphillanthes 2011 1921 Rasteau ($25) (Red) Rating: 93
This 2011 is a smoking follow up to the even richer, more concentrated 2010. Comprised of almost all Grenache (7% Mourvedre and a splash of Carignan) and from vines planted in 1921, it’s a knockout bottle of wine that sells for a song.
Chateau Pesquié 2012 Cotes du Ventoux Cuvee des Terrasses ($14.00) (Red) Rating: 92
From an up and coming appellation (Côtes du Ventoux, write that down), this cuvée is consistently outstanding and sells for pennies (you can find it for around 10-12 bucks). Mostly Grenache (aged in tank and older barrels) and loaded with southern Rhône character, it’s a no brainer purchase that over delivers.
Melville 2011 Syrah Verna Santa Rita Hills ($20-$30) (Red) Rating: 92
Always perfumed and complex, Melville’s 2011 leans towards the fresh, elegant side of the spectrum, yet never comes across as lean. A blend of 100% Syrah and all from the cool, windy, yet sun soaked Santa Rita Hills, it’s another character filled wine that is more than reasonably priced.
Best of 2013: Greatest Wine Drinking Experiences
Guigal 1999 Côte Rôtie La Mouline ($518-$889) (Red) Rating: 100
As sexy and seamless as they come, this beauty was consumed in a lineup of older Côte Rôties and it was the first glass drained. Had the bottle been near me, I’d have poured another. A dessert Island wine if there ever was one.
Sine Qua Non 2005 The 17th Nail in my Cranium Eleven Confessions Vineyard California ($855-$1343) (Red) Rating: 100
One of the first vintages where Manfred included some stems (15%), this off the hook Syrah includes a splash of Viognier and comes all from his Eleven Confessions Vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills. There was a scant 350 cases produced, but hold on to your hats if you can find a bottle or two.
Domaine De Saint-Préfert 2007 Chateauneuf Du Pape Collection Charles Giraud ($240-$488) (Red) Rating: 100
Also pure perfection, this magnum was pulled from Robert Parker’s cellar and consumed at one of the Wine Advocate’s staff bashes in Baltimore earlier this year. Voluptuous, decadent and yet ethereal and graceful, it’s a fitting tribute to the glories of old vine Grenache (and some Mourvedre)! Bob called this 100 points on release, and I called it 98 points. He wins.
Best of 2013: Dinner of the Year
Bern’s Steak House. This was casual evening with great friends and a handful of mostly older Rhônes that kicked off a week long sailing trip down the coast of Florida. While the wines (particularly the ’61 Diffonty Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Petite Bastide) and food were superb, the evening was more about relaxing, drinking and just having an all-around good time.
Cassis: No trip to the south of France is complete without a quick run (and swim) through the Calanques just to the west of the town of Cassis.