Treat Yourself To A Chateauneuf Kind Of Year

As you may have already gathered, I love Chateauneuf du Pape (CDP). So as we enter a new year I thought that I would highlight a few more wonderful CDPs from the 2011 vintage. With so many value wines from this vintage drinking wonderfully well now, why not make this your year to explore Chateauneuf du Pape.

The 2011 Domaine de Marcoux Chateauneuf du Pape is intensely aromatic, almost effusive with notes of black and red currant/cherry, herb provençal and spice ushered from the glass. On the palate, the core is equally driven and focused. The extraction, however, is not overwhelming and is almost perfectly matched by bright and lifting acidity. Toasty vanilla notes meld with the acidity to provide a defining edge to a wonderful cobbler of summer fruits and spice. The entire package is layered over wonderfully pliant sweet fruit tannin. Satisfyingly persistent, the finish brings a little pepper to the party, just to prompt the next sip. 

To be clear, this is a wonderfully elegant wine, beautifully perfumed and enticing. Everything about it cries “drink me now!”  (Second day – red fruit sorbet on the nose, red currants/cherry predominate the palate sweet and spicy fruit tannin with hints of pepper and great depth of flavor). This has what I might simply call – a delicious factor. It just dances a happy wee jig in your mouth and your tongue will thank you for the introduction. The 2011 Domaine de Marcoux Chateauneuf du Pape is available around the US for $55-65/btl, and worth every dime. 92 points, Andy.

The stone-covered soils of many CDP vineyards are frequently featured on the labels or in the names of their resulting wines. e.g. cailloux or galets.    

Sample kindly provided by Reliable Churchill Distribution
The 2011 André & Lucien Brunel Les Cailloux Chateauneuf du Pape is truly a delight in this uneven vintage. Beautifully translucent in the glass, the nose is flush with fresh raspberry coulis, black cherry, summer flowers accompanied by kirsch and hints of spice.  On the palate the immediate impression is of black/red currant, black cherry, pepper and spice. The mid-palate and finish are edged by garrique, game/cured meats and a wonderful nori-like minerality, highlighting this elegant and beautifully assembled CDP.   

As a whole, Les Cailloux is agile, light on its feet but the palate remains pure and well focused. Lifted by great acidity, the fruit seems lively and the tannin lithe and flexible. It does however retain sufficient muscle to provide continued evolution in the cellar over the next 7+ years. 

As with prior vintages of Les Cailloux the 2011 is a wonderful food wine, possessing a fine balance of minerality, acidity fruit and tannin. It is more than capable of standing up to a great lamb stew or Osso Bucco or pairing well with game or poultry without overwhelming their flavor.  The 2011 Les Cailloux CDP is available in the US for around $45/btl. 91+ points, Andy.

At the risk of taking analogy too far, the 2011 Domaine de Marcoux is filled with excitement and energy. It feels like the passion and romance of early love. By contrast, the 2011 Les Cailloux is deep, dark and filled with character and experience; the slow burning flame of a love that has been tested by the fires of life. 

At whatever stage of life, love or wine you are, these are wonderful examples of moderately priced, early drinking CDP that will not disappoint.  So fire up some hearty winter fare and pull the cork on these wonderful wines.

Santé à tous


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