Category Archives: Chateauneuf du Pape

Best of Hospice du Rhône 2012

Report on 172 wines tasted at the two Hospice du Rhône grand tastings this year, including new finds (for me): Kale Wines, Keplinger, Paul Lato and Torrin. Also some great Chateauneuf-du-Papes and Northern Rhônes. Continue reading

Posted in California Wine, Chateauneuf du Pape, Languedoc, Northern Rhone, Paso Robles, Rhône, South African Wine, Syrah | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

California Rhônes: Thoughts on 2012 Rhône Rangers Tasting

The biggest Rhône grape success story in California in terms of quality of offerings and relative value is Syrah. I’ve written previously here about the different styles of Syrah. California produces a lot of great Syrah, including cooler climate Syrahs that have savory and peppery characteristics reminiscent of Northern Rhône Syrah.
California also does well with Viognier, the white grape that produces the very expensive, floral and peach flavored wines of Northern Rhône’s tiny Condrieu appellation. Our versions typically lack the minerally qualities of great Condrieu, but the best producers are capturing Viognier’s peach and floral flavors, with good underlying acidity.
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Posted in California Wine, Chateauneuf du Pape, Northern Rhone, Petite Sirah, Rhône, Syrah | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

2011 Wine & Spirits Top 100 Tasting: Highs and Lows

This is an event I look forward to every year, even if I’ve ragged a bit on the opacity of the selection criteria in the past. There’s always an eclectic group of producers ranging from the very well known and perpetually excellent to the less well known and only occasionally excellent, or at least aspiring to excellence. There’s enough of each to keep it interesting. There’s also always great food on hand. This year’s venue, the Metreon, had its pluses and minuses. The view from the Metreon balcony is one of the best in San Francisco, so the outdoor, balcony part of the event, especially given the beautiful weather conditions, proved to be a scenic and inspiring place to taste wine. The indoor part, on the other hand, especially after dark, tended to be gloomy, cavernous and more than a little depressing. Continue reading

Posted in Australian Wine, Awards, Burgundy, Cabernet Sauvignon, California Wine, Champagne, Chateauneuf du Pape, Greek Wine, Italian Wine, Loire, Napa, Northern Rhone, Port, Rhône, Riesling, Winemakers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

50-year-old Wines at the 5th Floor to Celebrate a 5th Decade

We celebrated Sandy’s fifth decade at the Fifth Floor with a special menu that Executive Chef David Bazirgan came up with to pair with our wines. The food was creative and outstanding. Our wines were very good overall, and nothing was corked or faulty. As 1961 was not only a good year for people, but also an excellent year in Bordeaux, Barolo and Chateauneuf-du-Pape, it was a treat to have a bottle of that vintage from each of those appellations, all of which were in remarkably good shape. In short, it was a memorable night, and a great celebration. Continue reading

Posted in Barolo, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Chablis, Champagne, Chateauneuf du Pape, German Wine, Port, Rhône, Riesling, Wine Dinners | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Star-Crossed Rhone Dinner: Disappointing Showings and the ‘Cranky Old Guy’ Phenomenon

This dinner looked great on paper, featuring an older Rayas, a mature Beaucastel Roussanne VV, four vintages of Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle, mature Vieux Télégraphe and Beaucastel reds, and a 1952 H. Plantin Brusquieres Châteauneuf, one of the oldest CdPs I’ve ever tasted. Unfortunately, in terms of the wine, our dinner was star-crossed. Continue reading

Posted in Chateauneuf du Pape, Northern Rhone, Rhône, Syrah, Wine Dinners | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2009 vintage Châteauneuf-du-Pape: cask and barrel samples

This was a delightful evening tasting event at Beltramo’s, of 31 samples of the 2009 vintage from 14 different producers. I very much enjoyed most of the wines, and am looking forward to tasting more ’09s as they become available. These were all cask, or barrel, samples that were prepared for showing to trade representatives. The importer for all of the producers in this tasting is Wines of France, Inc./Alain Junguenet Selection. Continue reading

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Harry Karis visit pt. II: Old Châteauneuf-du-Papes from his cellar

As Harry explains in the video clip below, he conceived of the tasting as an opportunity to show California winemakers that Grenache-based wines, raised in almost all cases with no new oak, develop and age very well. A few of these wines supported Harry’s thesis better than others. A few, like our oldest wine, the ’49 Patriarche, as well as the ’61 Duvigneau and ’76 Cuvée du Conclave des Cardinaux, were already over the hill. Others, however, were in great shape, complex and delicious, giving proof to the idea that traditional Châteauneuf-du-Pape can age over decades into something profound and memorable, just like old Bordeaux and Barolo. A couple of them were, in fact, very reminiscent, for me, of old Barolo, like the ’69 Domaine Condorcet and the ’74 Clos Saint Jean. In a few cases, we had duplicate bottles of the same older wine, and the bottle differences were pretty dramatic. The wine of the night, for me, was our first bottle of the ’78 Château Cabrières. Also memorable were the ’81 Beaucastel, one of our bottles of ’61 Château Cabrières, and the ’59 Roger Sabon Cuvée Réservée. Continue reading

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