Chateauneuf du Pape Wine Tasting Notes
and Other Southern Rhone Wine

Chateauneuf du Pape wine is really the center and most important of the Southern Rhone wine regions. The Southern Rhone valley includes several appellations including Cotes-du-Rhone as well as smaller villages like Gigondas and Vacqueyras. Many different grape varietals are permitted here but the most important are Grenache, followed by Syrah, Mourvedre, Carignan and others. Chateauneuf-du-Pape ("the new home of the pope"; the pope lived there before the Vatican) is the most regal, producing wines of great depth and complexity. Technically part of Provence, the region is generally warm and full of glorious scents of wildly growing herbs such as thyme, rosemary, lavender and sage. These wild and brambly scents often permeate the wines, as they do in Bandol, making for rich, chewy, rustic and perfumed wines which can be great and pair beautifully with local Provençal cuisine.

For more introductory info about various wine regions including Chateauneuf du pape wine and other Southern Rhone wine, see our Wine Regions page!

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December 20, 2007
Charbonniere Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Vieilles Vignes 2003
Charbonniere is a smaller producer who makes excellent Chateaneuf-du-Pape wine. They make a few different bottlings. This one is from a region called la Crau and is made from very old vines (vieilles vignes), making for a rich, complex offering.

This Chateauneuf du Pape wine had a great nose of rich, ripe fruits and aromas of Provence. The flavors are silky and juicy, quite rich and ripe. It is still very young but avoids much of the over-ripeness or alcoholic heat that plague some wines from this warm vintage. This has gotten better, more integrated and deep, over the last couple years and should continue to improve for some time.

March 1, 2007
Charbonniere Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Speciale "Les Hautes Brusquières" 2003
Charbonniere is a smaller producer who makes excellent Chateaneuf-du-Pape wine. They make a few different bottlings. This one is notable for having quite a large percentage of Syrah in the blend, about 40% along with 60% Grenache and it is aged in oak barrels prior to bottling. 2003 was a very warm, almost freakishly warm, year in France, producing very ripe wines with high alcohol that many criticize as too ripe and alcoholic.

This wine however has a great nose of meaty and spicy scents. Almost more Bandol-like than Chateaneuf du Pape wine yet this has no Mourvedre! Maybe a hint of Brett. I was burning almond wood earlier but this didn't smell like it, it was more like smoldering rosemary and thyme! Yum! The mouth has a high note of ripe black and blue fruit. Rich and young but elegant and silky. Very nice! We enjoyed this with fireplace string-turned chicken.

Check back as we will post more Chateanuenuf du Pape wine tasting notes periodically as we are fortunate enough to taste them!

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