Tonight while watching Michael Chiarello and Geoffrey Zakarian in Battle Scotch on Iron Chef America, we opened a 2004 Domaine de Cristia CdP Vieilles Vignes. Based on CellarTracker tasting notes, it seemed that this wine would be in a good place, and it did not disappoint. This bottle was purchased for $64.99 at DeVine Wines in 2007. This will be my first experience actually tasting the wine after six years.
Background: Chateauneuf du Pape (CdP) is a region in the Southern Rhone valley, and a producer of some of my favorite wines. The majority are red, but the whites are also fantastic (though much lesser known). Red CdP wines are allowed to use 13 grape varietals (10 points if you can name them all without checking), with Grenach, Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault being the main four. The other red grapes are Counoise, Muscardin, Terret Noir and Vaccarese. The five allowed white grapes are Rousanne, Picpoul, Bourbolenc, Picardin and Clairette Blanc. Overall, Grenache is generally the predominant grape, with Syrah (Shiraz) and Mourvedre being next most common. In Australia, there are many GSMs out there (Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre) which is mimicry of the traditional Southern Rhone blend.
Tasting note: Deep garnet-ruby to the rim. Youthful color. Nose of sweet black licorice, blackberry, earth, cherry kirsch, and spice. On the palate it has sweet kirsch/blackberry fruit, black pepper, meat, and spice box. Complex and supple, great acid, excellent balance. Definitely a Parker style wine, but you don’t get any heat despite the 15% alcohol. More of a fruit forward style CdP than I’m used to, but great balance and hedonistic without being jammy or extracted. Having only tried the Cristia Renaissance in the past (which was also great), I would definitely buy their wines again in the future. In an excellent drinking window now. A wine that drinks great on its own, but also paired awesomely with cheese (Hercule de Charlevoix) and sausage. Very impressive wine. 94 points, non-blind.