Wine Talk

Snooth User: Philip James

Chateauneuf-du-pape recommendations

Posted by Philip James, Aug 26, 2009.

Posted on behalf of a user. c9dp isnt my specialist area, so thought I'd turn it over to the wiser and larger crowd:



Do you have any recommendations for a Chateauneuf-du-pape? We love fully structured, complex wines. This one sounds up my alley, but also one that most would probably feel strongly about...positively or negatively. I found a bottle today of 2004 Perrin & Fils for $26.99. It was rated at 89 (who cares about who rates it....the important thing is whether or not I love it) and a good $10-25 cheaper than the others on the shelf. I have it with me right now.

Any observations on the c-du-p, and perhaps how to enjoy it most? Thanks.


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Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Aug 26, 2009.


It's a region that has undergone some crazy developments as of late. For the longest time it was a sea of good but not great wine that was slightly rustic and very fairly priced. Then, not too long ago, they began to emulate the style that was gaining popularity among certain influential critics.

The wines became more concentrated, more alcoholic, not difficult with easy to ripen Grenache, and many producer began using new oak to add creaminess and spice to their wines. Quite a few producer also began bottling premium cuvees with a higher percentage of Grenache in the blend, frequently even more new oak. the wines became anonymous, creamy, dense fruit bombs, but garnered huge scores so prices shot up.

At the same time some of the base bottlings suffered. The best fruit was now being siphoned off for the Ne Plus Ultra packages so what was left might have to be tarted up a bit. The end result is that Chateauneuf is more expensive and less typical that it had been in the past.

I find it interesting that the wine you enjoyed was "only" rated an 89 and come from what many people consider to be a weak vintage. It's actually a vintage I love since the wines are less ripe, less jammy, lower in alcohol and overall exhibit a freshness and complexity that gets lost in "better" years.

Chateauneuf has become relatively expensive so finding something comparable at that price point will be a challenge but don't despair. Like most of the wines of the Southern Rhone, Chateauneuf is a blend based on Grenache. Many Cotes du Rhone, and particularly the Cotes du Rhone du Villages and appellations such as Gigondas and Vacqueyras offer similar wines at much more attractive pricing.

My recommendation would be to explore these wines and take a look at as many vintages as you can. 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 are all in the marketplace at the moment with 2007 considered exceptional, which is frequently great for smaller producers with less ideally situated vineyards or those who may have to depend on higher yields to keep them solvent. 2005 is also held in very high regard followed by 2006 and 2004.

By tasting through the vintages you can hone in on the style you prefer. You might find that you do in fact prefer a less ripe vintage, good news since they tend to get closed out.

As far as enjoying the wines, they are fairly food friendly. I tend to pair them with lamb dishes and earthy entrees like mushroom risotto or pot roast.

Though much like the points (who cares ...the important thing is whether or not you enjoy how it is served!)

I hope this offers some useful advice and I look forward to hearing about your discovery of Chateauneuf du Pape!

Reply by GregT, Aug 26, 2009.

I'm kind of in agreement with you. Damn!

But I've been very much enjoying the 2004 vintage in the south Rhone. Seems to me that they got things right - the ripeness was held in check, and the wines seem better structured than in some years. No idea why it's denigrated by some.

And one piece of advice is to look in the surrounding areas for values. CdP has become increasingly expensive. Wines that I bought for $20 in 1998 and 2000 are coming in at $50 and up in 2007. A lot of that increase is due to increased demand for that region. So Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Ventoux, Luberon, and the general appellation of Cotes du Rhone offer some very good values. Gigondas is the next CdP - and their prices are going up too, so buy them now.

In those other areas, the 2000, 2001, 2004, 2005 and 2007 vintages are what I like. Not many 2007s out yet, but those I've tasted are pretty good.

Reply by dmcker, Aug 26, 2009.

Tasted at the end of spring/beginning of summer a 2007 Domaine Durieu Chateauneuf du Pape "Cuvee Lucille Avril". Got a couple bottles for a little bit north of $40. Deep purple color, even opaque, lots of dark berries, licorice, earthy, very good structure and length. I assume a high proportion of grenache from, I believe, old vines.

That bottle was what made me ask in an earlier thread about a review of 2007 Rhones by Snooth at some point...

So a question, here. How would you classify the following makers' versions of Neuf du Papes, Greg, on a tarted-up oaky fruitbomb scale:
--Bosquets des Papes
--Clos des Papes
--Pierre Usseglio
--Chateau Beaucastel
--Chateau de la Nerthe
--Domaine de Marcoux
--Domaine de la Solitude
--Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe
--Clos du Mont Olivet
--Domaine de la Janasse
--Domaine de la Mordoree
--Domaine de Saint-Prefert
--Domaine Giraud
--Domaine Grand Veneur
--Domaine Roger Sabon

The list could go on, of course, but I'll stop here. Would be interested to hear about any you've tasted, and of course several of them have multiple versions.

Oh, and some good 2007 Cotes du Rhones I've already had include 2007 Dom. de Piaugier Cotes du Rhone "Sablet", and 2007 Domaine Le Colombier Vacqueyras Vieilles Vignes. The former grenache and syrah, with a massive nose and meaty palate (from the syrah, I assume). The latter grenache and mourvedre, showing (like the Durieu above) very dense color with fresh shiitake, wildflowers and blueberries on the nose and palate with a long finish. Both medium to full bodied with good balance. In the $15 to $20 range. They were perfect BBQ wines, and more...

Reply by Loup Garou, Aug 27, 2009.

Has anyone tried the California Tablas wines from Paso Robles? It is owned by the Perrin family (who have a nice inexpensive label "Perrin" and, of course, own Chateau Beaucastel).

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Aug 27, 2009.

Ok here goes, I'll be breif since the list is fairly long, but I'll make it longer at the end!

--Bosquets des Papes - I like, traditional and not tarted up, not great but very typical

--Clos des Papes - Changed a lot, sometimes great but increasing too concentrated

--Pierre Usseglio - a leader in the use of premium labels and new oak, though in moderation, not terrible but the trade som complexity for concentration

--Chateau Beaucastel - Wooho! Almost not CndP since the percentage of Grenache tends to be low and that of Mourvedre and Syrah quite high, Awesome wines though not particularly representative of CndP. One of my favorite producers.

--Chateau de la Nerthe - a solid but unexceptional producer, variable but typical and old school, I like them a bit more than it may sound

--Domaine de Marcoux - i like very much, maybe variable but can be remarkably complex, the wines really speak of the fruit and terroir more than the winemaking,

--Domaine de la Solitude - premium bottlings may have had an impact here as the regular wine is not where it once was. Decent wines and while not over oaked the winemaking shows

--Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe - like very much, and old school producer whose wines are rather compact and dense yet age very well

--Tardieu-Laurent - a negociant, though a highly regarded one. I find the wines tend to be marked by their wood aging and have too much glossiness and not enough depth

--Clos du Mont Olivet a little rustic perhaps but lovely, very typical wines that I enjoy

--Domaine de la Janasse - big and fruity and alittle bit clumsy but if you really like Grenache you'll love these wines

--Domaine de la Mordoree - these wines have huge following but I don't get them. I have had too many bad experiences, unintegrated oak, disjointed hot wines to want any more.

--Domaine de Saint-Prefert - relatively new producer, very good base wine, several premium wines, a bit glossy and fancy overall and while well made not my style

--Domaine Giraud i do not recall ever having tried their wines

--Domaine Grand Veneur - lots of different wines, some with too spicy oak, very slick wines, not for me but they make a very nice Lirac

--Domaine Roger Sabon - again lots of different wines, more classically made though, I do not have any significant experience with the full range but would like to try more

And some other wines worth mentioning

Charvin - The Burgundy of CndP. Has an elegance and delicacy that sets it apart. Some older Clos des Papes were similar.

Vieux Donjon - Kicking it old school, earthy, muscular, complex with fruit to balance it, ages very well, obviously I like.

Font de Michelle - has a premium bottling Etienne Gonnet, that is tough and muscular but really blossoms with age, a value in the style

Pegau - an internet darling, really nice wines that I enjoy but no better, or worse, than the majority of producers,

Fortia - another middle of the pack producer but one that can offer some value.

Domaine du Banneret - hard to find but brings me back to a slightly lighter style that was more common 10 years ago, lovely wines, balanced, not important but likable

Bois du Boursan - lovely stinky old school style though they do have the premium Cuvee Felix which is excellent Grenache but lacks some the complexity that the other grape varieties can contribute.

I may be missing some producers, like Clos St. Jean whose Deus ex machina got alot of play last year, Another producer whose wines seem to want to come from someplace other than CndP, Maybe southern Spain or Argentina and Les Cailloux, whose wines can be variable but are usually very nice and the Cuvee Centanaire is another one of those super cuvees that I don't mind but at the same time don't enjoy as much as the price warrants.

Having said all that I really should get back to work. Let's see who else jumps in here!

Reply by po54, Aug 28, 2009.

Me ! ;-))
For Perrin et Fils see :
I use a lot the Hachette Guide.
Never be disapointed with their ratings.
When you have a 2 stars with the Heart, you can buy blind eyes.
On the web, you have the 2008 guide. Only french language :-(
2009 is only paper right now, until new edition (october, I guess)
You 'll find also infos on Sommeliers International Association website:
French AND English :-)
Their testing notes are really valuable and reliable.
I found a 2007 Côtes du Rhône degustation : http://www.sommelier-international....
May be this will help....

Reply by dmcker, Aug 28, 2009.

Thanks for the links, Pascal. I've used the Hachette guides on and off for years, and have always found them useful. Mostly the print verions, and almost always in English, though sometimes the French (mine is weak and rough, and wading through is slow work, though I'll do it when necessary...). Very useful sources that cover all sorts of things I have trouble finding elsewhere (e.g. the wines in the Geneva area).

Will go look at the sommelier-international site now.

How are you finding the Neuf du Papes and Cotes du Rhones, for 2007 or other vintages?

Reply by dmcker, Aug 28, 2009.

Seem to have forgotten to say it, but thanks, Greg, for your comments on the c9dp makers. As always, pithy and to the point. Look forward to hearing more from you on the subject.

Reply by dmcker, Aug 28, 2009.

And Pascal, perhaps I should mention that I have a lot less trouble with Hachette en francais, then with the Veronelli guides, though my interest in the wines keeps me trudging...

Perhaps that's a subject for a thread on the best wineguides. Hachette in France, Veronelli in Italy. What about Spain? Calling GregT...

Reply by dmcker, Aug 29, 2009.

After posting in the 'Under $13' thread, I realized what I said there might be pertinent to this thread, too:

Reply by dmcker, 23 minutes ago.
2007 Perrin & Fils "Reserve" Côtes du Rhône $7.99.

Better than most wines three or four times its price :-)

Reply by dmcker, 6 minutes ago.
Also very good:
2007 Perrin & Fils Côtes du Rhône-Villages 50% syrah, 50% grenache $10.99
2007 Delas "St-Esprit" Côtes du Rhône 75% syrah, 25% grenache $9.99

The 2007 vintage is so lovely that I'll find it hard to lay down bottles for later years...

Reply by po54, Aug 29, 2009.

For C9dp (Il love the way you write it...), I highly recommend wines from this domain :

Patrick Coste's Le Pointu
Red or white, theese wines are wonderful, perhaps top of the best of c9dp !!
Organic driven vineyards.
- The white 2006 Feuilles d'or is an exceptional wine ! White grenache, white clairette.
You'll keep it 2010-2018 according to the lengh of its finish.
Exeptional first taste with sweetness and flavour of apple, anisseed, with excellent balance.(to be served at 10° C)
In red, the Domain produce 2 jewels :
- Cuvée Clément 2006.
Come from selection of 90 years old vineyards. Black grenache, black cinsault.
Nose fresh, delicate and fruity with flavoured notes of Kirsch.
In mouth, marvellous, delicate tannins, rich structure, notes of fruit, with delicate toasted touches. The finish is long and delicate.
Will last up to 2028 !
- Domaine Le Pointu 2006 - Black grenache, black cinsault.
Nose very elegant, aromas of dried figs and dried fruits
In mouth, it's powerful and fresh, fruity flavours similar to the nose, wonderful elegant tannins. The finish is exceptionally long.
Its life will be 2010-2030 !
The red wines should be served at 15°C.

For other c9dp, I would go to a white Château de la Nerthe 2008 and a red 2005,
a Domaine de Saint Siffrein 2006 red (to be drank now, up to 2012) and from the same a 2007 white.
Another jewel : Domaine de Marcoux 2007 red, which is splendid ! Great talent and pure pleasure. Organic vineyards.
In Vacqeyras, don't miss the Domaine Le Sang des Cailloux with its 2006 Cuvée de Lopy. Also from the same the Un sang blanc 2007 white will kick you up with its white flowers fragance and a touch of light acidity.

Reply by Eric Guido, Aug 29, 2009.

My two cents here as I'm not into CDP anywhere near as much as some of the others on this thread. I've had Vieux Donjon and Vieux Télégraphe in both new vintages and past vintages and have loved hem both. Really great after 6 plus years of age IMO. but I don't have a lot of experience after that. I would also suggest Gigondas, one of my favorites Domaine du Grapillon d'Or.

Reply by po54, Aug 29, 2009.

Here is another selection of Côtes du Rhône wines with nice prices:
- Domaine Gramenon - 2008 Les Laurentides red Syrah-Grenache (organic vineyards) (Parker loves it) Price around 8 euros
- Côtes du Rhône Sablet, go to Domaine Paul Roumanille fot its Village 2006 (Parker rates the 2005 90/100) - Around 8 euros
- on Saint-Joseph, Domaine Pierre Gonon offers a splendid 2007 (around 15 euros) (organic vineyards and manual and horse vineyards work)
see :
- in Crozes-Hermitage, Alain Graillot should seduce you with its 2007 (around 15 euros)
- in Cairanne, an excellent choice is Domaine Marcel Richaud. Its 2007 (grenache, mourvèdre, syrah, carignan) is a very nice wine. Organic vineyards.10 euros.
- in Ventoux, the Cave Coopérative Terraventoux produce for 2007 2 nice cuvées : TerraVentoux - 50% Grenache, 50% Syrah (5 euros) et Terres de truffes 50% Grenache, 50% Syrah (6,50 euros)

Reply by po54, Sep 1, 2009.

I just received from Domaine Le Pointu their new price list.
They only sell at the Domaine.
>> Red Châteauneuf du Pape Rouge 2006 Cuvée « Clément » 25 euros
>> Red Châteauneuf du Pape Rouge 2007 Cuvée « Clément » 26 euros
>> White Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc 2006 Cuvée « Feuille d’Or » 27 euros
>> White Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc 2007 Cuvée « Feuille d’Or » 29 euros

The generic Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge 2006 is 17 euros
The same but 2007 is 18 auros

Red : The generic Côtes du Rhône Rouge 2005 and 2006 is 5.5 euros
White : The generic Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2007 and 2008 is 8 euros

Reply by po54, Sep 1, 2009.

For Châteauneuf du Pape afficionados,
according to R. Parker "The definitive book"
"The Châteauneuf-du-Pape Wine Book”
Harry Karis - Kavino Book Publishing
72.95 €

Reply by dmcker, Sep 1, 2009.

An interesting 'self-publishing' work by Karis. The website is a little high on hype but interestingly done and the book looks worth a purchase. Thanks for the link, Pascal.

One wonders what it took to get Parker to do the intro...

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Sep 1, 2009.

The book is exceptional. I've seen only certain pages but it is a referennce standard book.

If you are into CndP it is a must buy.

Reply by dmcker, Sep 17, 2009.

Branching out a bit further, can I ask for some opinions, Greg, on more southern and northern Rhones? I found your comments above, as always, both informative and useful. Some of the list below I know, but others not, and I'm considering trying them.

--Chapoutier Chateauneuf du Pape Croix de Bois
--Chateau du Mourre du Tendre (J. Paumel) Chateauneuf du Pape
--Domaine de Cristia Chateauneuf du Pape
--Domaine de la Vieille Julienne Chateauneuf du Pape
--Domaine Gramenon Cotes du Rhone Cuvee des Laurentides
--Domaine Pontifical Chateauneuf du Pape
--Guigal Chateauneuf du Pape
--Henri Bonneau Chateauneuf du Pape

--Georges Vernay Condrieu les Chaillees de l`Enfer
--Pierre Dumazet Condrieu Cote Fournet

--Chapoutier Ermitage les Greffieux Vieilles Vignes
--Guigal Crozes Hermitage
--Yann Chave Hermitage
--Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage 'La Chapelle'

--Chapoutier Cote Rotie la Mordoree
--Rene Rostaing Cote Rotie Cuvee Classique

--Guigal St. Joseph Vignes des Hospice

--Paul Jaboulet Aine Cornas Domaine de St. Pierre

Finally, ran across another attractive-looking 2007 Cotes du Rhone, for just under $20:
--2007 Le Clos du Caillou “Vieilles Vignes” Cotes du Rhone, North Berkeley Cuvee

North Berkeley Imports brings it into the US, and got the winemakers to bottle a special cuvee for them. 80% Grenache, 13% Syrah and 7% Mourvèdre, and it supposedly drinks like a C9dP twice its price. Have some on order, though I haven't tasted it yet.

Reply by dmcker, Sep 17, 2009.

Pascal, I also meant to ask for your views, too, as well as those from any other interested parties...

Reply by D9sus4, Sep 21, 2009.

Haven't seen this one mentioned yet so here's my favorite from Gigondas: 2005 Brusset Les Hauts de Montmirail,

From CduP: 2005 Domaine Jerome Gradassi - very good value for a CduP at $25-33.00 on average

Another good value buy from CduP: 2005 Jean Royer Prestige -

But IMHO, the best buys for this style of wine are the 2005 wines from Vacqueyras which is right next door to Gigondas and down the road from CduP. Perrin produces some good value wines from here but my favorite is probably Domaine la Garrigue in the bang-for-buck category

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