Wednesday, June 3, 2009

1999 Clos Des Papes

Yesterday our temperatures reached 90 degrees for the first time this year. Today we were lucky to break 60 degrees, finally managing to get to 62. We went from chilled white wine and cold beer weather to a red wine night in less than 24 hours.

Instead of the planned left over roast chicken from Sunday we fired up the grill and cooked bone in rib steaks. Instead of a cheap white wine with too much chill on it or a gin and tonic we went to a Chateauneuf de Pape, a red wine that is any thing but subtle.

I regularly read on line wine review sites that keep me up to date with others' opinions on some of the older wines I have in the cellar. One of those was a lone bottle of 1999 Clos De Papes. The last few reviews were four to one that this wine had reached its peak and had declined. The fourth review was a rave review of this particular wine. I went with the four instead of the one and pulled the cork. The four were wrong.

The color was more like a pinot noir, but the nose was like sitting in a brand new car with full leather interior and eating a bowl of strawberries and cherries with a few pomegranate seeds thrown in for crunch while driving with the windows down and smelling fresh earth after a light rain. (Why do I feel like I should apologize to Gary Vaynerchuk here?) Throw in a cinnamon stick and a couple allspice berries and it was the quintessential smell of a good Chateauneuf de Pape.

The taste was full of the strawberries and cherries and they were fully ripe, but just at the moment when those sweet tastes were about to become too much the tannin and acid kicked in and totally cleaned the palate. The finish was long, smooth and dry.

Along with the steak there was some butter simmered asparagus and some wild mushroom and black truffle ravioli (store bought). All those foods did was pick up on the earthiness in the wine and accentuate the fruit.

There is just a little less than half of the wine left and the vacuum seal should go in so that we can see if the second day on the wine lives up to the first. On the other hand the evening is young and the wine is much more than delicious, and it is a red wine night. I sense a late morning coming tomorrow.

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