Monday, November 04, 2013

Chapeau to Chateauneuf-du-Pape


Chateauneuf-du-Pape was a regular 'diat' 30 years ago. If my memory serves me correctly...they were all with an aged colour...a farmyardy smell...and a soft palate. Mind you...I was probably drinking them with some bottle age.
The hype for the 2010 vintage in Chateauneuf-du-Pape persuaded me to buy a few single bottles...and with my Coravin...try them and leave them.
But first...down Memory Lane.


Sat for our evening meal.. my wife mentions...purely by chance...about our many visits to France.

'Remember that pile of bottles?' she asked.
Yes...I did...my wife and I and her brother were stopping over at the Hostellerie Chateau des Fines Roches in Chateauneuf-du-Pape..this is the early 80's
We had visited a couple of properties...but my big wish was to visit Chateau Rayas. Louis Reynaud, an extrovert character, had died in 1978..and the owner at the time of our visit was his son Jacques...no less extrovert I had been told. 'You'll never get in...he'll probably produce a shotgun'...was the general information from the wine trade.
We proceeded to the main square and started to ask directions. Shakes of heads...blank looks...told it all. This was a property that didn't exactly have a PR department.
Next idea...local policeman directing traffic...again...blank look. I thought policeman knew everything! We eventually found someone who 'thought' they knew the direction. We set off...along dusty roads...the heat beating down on the stony vineyards. Suddenly...round a corner...a hand-written sign...arrowing us to turn left. Finally we arrived at a 'derilict' building.
The photo I supply here was not what we saw back then.. My wife and her brother waited in the car...knowing this may have been in vain. I knocked on the battered door. After a short time...I heard footsteps. I waited for the buckshot! The door opened...and there stood Jacques Reynaud...peering at me over his glasses. He inquired what I wanted...and...being prepared...I said I knew a Wine Merchant in England. The name rang a bell with him...they were his agent there...and I quickly followed this with my enthusiasm for his wines. I waited...he turned...and beckoned me in. I turned to the car...gave the thumbs-up..and followed Jacques. The place where he took me was where it all happened...and was a minor chaos. Bottles and equipment all over the place. He said he didn't have any wine open...so I asked if I could buy some bottles of Chateau Rayas. He only had 1978 he said...and he could only let me have 3 bottles. Only!!...I agreed...no point in pushing your luck. He had softened by now...and we did the deal and I said my goodbyes. As I left the house...my brother-in-law had been round the side of the house....and he beckoned me to take a look. Outside of the window to the room where I had been...was a gigantic pile of old used bottles. It was obvious what Jacques did. Whenever a bottle was empty...he threw it out of the window. My brother-in-law helped himself to a couple of really old one and we left...and me still intact. I bragged about my success to anyone who would listen. I got in to Chateau Rayas! The Vintage 1978 was the last for Louis and the first for Jacques. Jacques passed away in 1997.


but enough of this reminiscing... 
Chateau de Vaudieu 2010
Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
Forest berry confiture...dark berry feel on the palate...touch of nouget...firm...but approachable tannins...a powerwine and a lot of grape for the money...€ 30,--
Phew...that woke me out of my dreams...
Points 16.75...and a re-taste next day more to my liking as I was prepared...

Domaine Pierre Usseglio et Fils 'Tradition'
Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
Whereas the Vaudieu was a 'thump on the nose'...this was more a 'punch in the stomach'...not half as painful...Again the Confiture...but with fresh cherries and some much needed minerals...spices...liquorice...pastis...milk chocolate. Not quite an iron fist in a velvet glove...which could have been a fitting description instead of my attempts. Excellent value at € 25,--
Points 17.25

A few more to try...and I will give them PLENTY of air...

Jacques's wines were also daunting when young...

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