Chateauneuf-du-Pape Tasting Notes 2-22-01
Tasting hosted by Lauren Wojtowicz, with the
help of Melissa Primiano
Winos in attendance: Rich, Steve, Lisa Marie, Brian, Cathy, Annabel, Lauren,
Honorary Winos in attendance: Melissa and Amy
7 wines were purchased for the tasting, though one wine was "corked"
and not drinkable. The six remaining wines were a mixture of ’97 and ’98 vintages.
Wine Spectator has ranked the ’98 vintage of southern Rhone wines in the mid-high
‘90’s, suggesting that these wines should be quite good, with excellent aging
Here are the tasting notes and rankings. The wine’s placement in the tasting
order is listed first, followed by the producer’s name, and its final ranking
score and estimated price.
Spectator's review of 1998 Southern Rhones
E. Guigal - 1997, ranked #1; released at $25, Lauren paid $29.
- dried fruit, raisin-y
- agreement on the dried fruit, with hints of smoke
- soft tannins, nice fruit, nice structure, mid-palate (arrow up?), nice finish
- yummy, bright fruit
- "silky tongue, but didn’t like the swallow" (guess who?)
- velvety "milk" feel
- on second tastes, called "more balanced, slightly acidic"
*** Note: Wine Spectator rated this an "85"
- Les Closiers, Caves des Papes - 1998, ranked #5; released at $24
- Chocolate, coffee
- Dried fruit again, richer
- Rich, hot fruit, like a Zin
- More fruit, lactic – grassy(?!)
- Lots of fruit, more like Zin. Dark and grapy
- Teresa and Annabel felt it was sour, and raisiny
- Mark mumbled something about sourdough
*** Wine Spectator rated this a "91"
- Chateau de la Gardine - 1998, ranked #2; released at $34
- Richer, less dried fruit, mal cab-like, more oak, leather
- Dark berry
- Vanilla, soft, good structure
- Dark, nice tannins, some oak, some veggies…balance problems
- Seems more closed…oak
- Annabel – syrah like?
- Softer, more closed…clashes with food…like CA
- Teresa – no finish; youthful
- Rich – seems Californian. Don’t like it
- Amy – not too distinct. No finish.
*** Wine Spectator rated this a "94"
4. Domaine Pontifical, ranked #4; purchased for $20.99
- "not much nose"
- chemical characteristics – sulfur?
- Mark and Teresa claimed it resembled red bell peppers once they’ve rotted
to the point of liquidification
- Plastic, a little white pepper, leather
- Aluminum, like licking a battery…Dumped! - Rich
- Heavy lactic acid – Steve
- Several agreed to it having "no finish"
- Fruit obscured by pepper; lactic? Odd finish
- Chateau Cabrieres - 1998, ranked #3; rel. at $25, purchased for $35
- unanimously appreciated nose!
- Syrah, (something undecipherable), leather, yumm!!
- Mega nose! Some artificial fruit, some floral
- Great nose
- Yummy! Vanilla, choclaty…
- Light, cherry and vanilla
- Chocolate and vanilla, yummy
- Rich: "I think I could actually finish that"
- Some sweetness, meaty mouth, mushrooms
- Light, minerally, not badly balanced
- Highly lactic, sour taste. Wide speculation that it’ll worsen with age.
- And – "It’d be great in a salad," - huh?
*** Wine Spetator rated this a "90"
- 1998 Caves de Papes…CORKED. And actually, it’s a good thing we couldn’t
taste it, since it turns out this a Cote du Rhone, and not a Chateneuf du
- La Bernadine – 1997, ranked #6; purchased for around $20?
- Veggie or sulfur?
- Volatile Acidity, or veggie
- "Yuck! Bad sweet tarts."
- Not well balanced
- Lactic and veggie
- Sour milk?
- Rich: "This is a good upstate NY wine"
- Host’s Comments: I think by this point we had lost our scientific objectivity.
While many wrote this wine off as too acidic or vegetal, I thought it had
a lot of complexity. Maybe the food or the tasting order hurt it. Of course,
I didn’t like it much either, so I can’t defend it too much.