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Daniel Rogov

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Chateauneuf and Vacqueyras: A Morning Tasting

by Daniel Rogov » Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:21 pm

This morning I attended a tasting of wines from Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Vacqueyras, two of the better known villages of the Southern Rhone Valley. The tasting was held at the importer's, Giaconda.

For those who have not followed wine history, Chateauneuf-du-Pape (literally "the pope's new castle") attained its first moment of glory when the papal court moved from Rome to Avignon in the early 14th century. What remains of the various popes who held residence here are a few walls of the original castle, but what has taken over as the star of the area are the wines known by the name of the village. According to regulations, the red wines of Chateauneuf-du-Pape can contain as few as one or as many as thirteen different varieties, those including red and white grapes. Although the primary grape used is Grenache (indeed, some producers produce their wines entirely from this grape), other red grapes can include Cinsault, Counoise, Mourvedre, Muscardin, Syrah, Terret Noir and Vaccarese. White grapes may include Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc, Clairette, Picardin, Roussanne and Picpoul. At their best the red and white wines of Chateauneuf can be full bodied, complex and quite cellar worthy.

The wines of the village of Vacqueyras, technically one of the Cotes du Rhone villages, are a bit more country-style than those of Chateauneuf, but at their best that does not stop them from attaining excellence and complexity.

As always Anat Sela and Rafaella Ronen, the partners at Giaconda surprise me in positive ways, first by demonstrating once again that many of the wines they import are exquisite and second that they maintain their prices well in line with those of the USA and Europe. Prices given in the reviews below are for members of the members' club. Membership is free and that can be attained at the company's internet site http://www.giaconda.co.il . For further information or to place orders Giaconda can be reached at 03 6022746.

My thanks to Anat and Rafaella for a fine tasting, their good company, several cups of espresso and a few nibbles of fine cheese that we shared after the tasting.

Best
Rogov

The White Wines

Domaine Bois de Boursan, Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, Rhone, 2006: Light, bright gold in color, a medium-bodied white, opening in the glass to reveal a generous nose of mango, lime and almonds, and then flavors of melons, papaya and figs. On the long finish generous hints of minerals and peach pits, all coming together as a coherent and sophisticated whole. Drink now-2014. NIS 162. Score 91. (Tasted 22 Dec 2009)

Domaine le Sang des Cailloux, Un Sang Blanc, Vacqueyras, Rhone, 2006: A medium- to full-bodied blend of Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc, Clairette and Roussane (and, if I am not mistaken, a hint of Viognier floating in there). A near creamy (I am tempted to say buttery) wine with fine balancing acidity and opening in the glass to reveal on first attack melon and apples, those yielding nicely to notes of tropical fruits and peach pits and finally, rising on the long finish hints of mint and lemon. At one moment delicate, at the next muscular but at every moment fascinating. Drink now-2012. NIS 225. Score 91. (Tasted 22 Dec 2009)


The Red Wines

Domaine le Sang des Cailloux, Traditional, Cuvee Doucinello, Vacqueyras, Rhone, 2005: Dark garnet with orange and green reflections, full-bodied and muscular, with tannins that grip nicely to give the wine an almost chewy texture. A complex nose that includes black fruits, roast meat and freshly ground coffee, that matched nicely by flavors of blackcurrants, blackberries and figs and, always in the background to tantalize notes of roasted chestnuts. A complex, delicious and nearly savage wine with a finish that seems to go on forever. Approachable and enjoyable now but best 2011-2020. No price available as the wine is already sold out. One might however that a bit of begging might yield a bottle or two. Score 93. (Tasted 22 Dec 2009)

Domaine le Sang des Cailloux, Cuvee de Lopy, Vacqueyras, Rhone, 2005: Deep royal purple in color, a blend primarily of Grenache and Syrah, those flushed out with small percentages of Mourvedre and Cinsault. On the nose jammy berries, Oriental spices and freshly ground coffee and on the palate intense blackberry and red currant fruits those supported by notes of minerals and spices. Firm from first sip to last, that merely reflecting the youth of the wine. Approachable and enjoyable now but best 2012-2017. NIS 225. Score 91. (Re-tasted 22 Dec 2009)

Domaine Bois de Boursan, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, 2005: A thoroughly traditional Chateauneuf, bright garnet in color, full-bodied, with earthy minerals, garrigue and leathery notes underlying a generous array of black fruits. From mid-palate on notes of grilled beef and spices and, on the long finish licorice and roasted herbs. Mouth-filling and generous. Drinking nicely now but best from 2012-2024. NIS 198. Score 92. (Tasted 22 Dec 2009)

Domaine Bois de Boursan, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, 2001: Garnet with a hint of burnt Sienna but don't let that confuse you, for this wine is not at all browning with age but simply reflecting a natural evolution from what was once its almost dark brown color. Coming into its own now, a traditional (one might even say old-fashioned) Chateauneuf, showing full-bodied and entrancing with generous game, mushroom and saddle-leather notes, those parting comfortably to make way for purple plum, blackberry and herbal notes, all leading to a long near-sweet finish. Generous and complex. Drink now-2018, perhaps longer. NIS 225. Score 93. (Re-tasted 22 Dec 2009)

Domaine Bois de Boursan, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Cuvee des Felix, Rhone, 2005: Concentrated, intense and reflecting its youth by being tight and needing quite a while to open in the glass. Not to worry though as this one shows truly fine balance and structure boding well for the future. As the wine does open look for a full-bodied wine with generous but soft tannins to highlight wild berries, black currants and figs, those on a background of earthy minerals, cherries and licorice. Remarkably long. Approachable now but best from 2012 or 2013-2028. NIS 337. Score 94. (Tasted 22 Dec 2009)

Domaine Bois de Boursan, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Cuvee des Felix Rhone, 2001: Full-bodied and concentrated enough that you might think of this one as "thick". Dark ruby towards garnet, with generous tannins that grip comfortably and part to make way for traditional Chateauneuf aromas and flavors. On the nose and palate raspberries, cherries and wild berries, those complemented by garrigue, freshly roasted herbs, earthy minerals and notes of roasted game meat. Complex and generous with a remarkably long finish. Chateauneuf at its traditional best. Drinking nicely now but don't hesitate to hold this one until 2013 before starting to drink and then cellaring without fear until 2030. NIS 360. Score 96. (Re-tasted 22 Dec 2009)
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Ido GalOn

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Re: Chateauneuf and Vacqueyras: A Morning Tasting

by Ido GalOn » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:35 pm

Hello Mr.R :)

I have only one question.

Domaine le Sang des Cailloux, Traditional, Cuvee Doucinello, Vacqueyras, Rhone, 2005 scored higher than the higher wine which is Domaine le Sang des Cailloux, Cuvee de Lopy, Vacqueyras, Rhone, 2005.
I can see from your tasteing notes that the lower version gives alot more today and I can understand it. But I do wonder what will happen in 2012 or in 2015 between those 2 wines. For me, most of the times wines with minerals wins over the wines without in the race as years go by. It will be intersting to see both of the wines I guess 4 years from now. I do addmit I only tasted the Lopy few months ago, it was closed, I guess it is still closed and need time.
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Re: Chateauneuf and Vacqueyras: A Morning Tasting

by Daniel Rogov » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:41 pm

Ido, Hi....

Indeed, many of these wines wil drink very nicely for the first 2 - 3 years after release and will then go into a quasi-dumb period for as long as 5 - 6 years before "waking up and returning to life". With that we have no disagreement. As to my score - as always based on a combination of what the wine is now and its potential for the future. Depending on the particular harvest, the specific vineyards in question and potential quirks in the actual winemaking process, it is not all that unusual, especially in the southern Rhone for lower series wines to equal the ratings or even outscore their more prestigious brothers and sisters.

Best
Rogov
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Ido GalOn

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Re: Chateauneuf and Vacqueyras: A Morning Tasting

by Ido GalOn » Wed Dec 23, 2009 1:14 am

Thanks for the answer. In the end time will tell which wine ages better.
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Re: Chateauneuf and Vacqueyras: A Morning Tasting

by Ehud W » Fri Dec 25, 2009 2:01 pm

Daniel Rogov wrote: Depending on the particular harvest, the specific vineyards in question and potential quirks in the actual winemaking process, it is not all that unusual, especially in the southern Rhone for lower series wines to equal the ratings or even outscore their more prestigious brothers and sisters.


Rogov, Hi

Let me propose another explanation here.
Two days before you had your tasting I had mine. Same beautiful Southern Rhone's in a paid tasting at Giaconda's, having the opportunity also to enjoy their own delicate cooking (for whoever doesn't know, Anat and Refaela started their culinary journey way before they studied wine-making and began importing special wines).
I tasted both Sang des Cailloux cuvees and I felt the Lopy was even better than the Traditional, having top of the line balance and elegance, that somehow I miss them in the above TN. After I read Ido's post, and your reply, I reminded myself of a previous TN of yours, following herein-

"Le Sang de Caillou, Cuvee de Lopy, Vacquyeras Rouge, Rhone, 2005: If you need a reference, think of this as an elegant country-style Chateauneuf. A full-bodied, generously tannic blend of 75% Grenache and 25% Syrah, showing a meaty, almost musky and earthy nose and opening on the palate to reveal ripe currant, blackberry and spices. Approachable and enjoyable now but best from 2010 at which time those tannins will integrate somewhat more. Cellar until 2016, perhaps longer. NIS 250. Score 93. (Tasted 16 Jul 2008)"

There I started wondering maybe that is a taster variation (just kidding :lol: ) or a bottle variation?
Combining your 2008 notes to my own impression of the wine, I believe that the Lopy is no less than the Traditional and even better.
A third tasting?
Ehud
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Re: Chateauneuf and Vacqueyras: A Morning Tasting

by Daniel Rogov » Fri Dec 25, 2009 2:57 pm

Ehud, Hi....

Perhaps neither taster nor bottle variation but an additional 18 months of bottle age? As to a third tasting...t'would be my pleasure, especially if we could do it together.

Very Best
Rogov
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Re: Chateauneuf and Vacqueyras: A Morning Tasting

by Ehud W » Fri Dec 25, 2009 5:49 pm

I got a Lopy in my cellar...
Ehud
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Re: Chateauneuf and Vacqueyras: A Morning Tasting

by Daniel Rogov » Fri Dec 25, 2009 5:53 pm

Make you a deal.... You bring the Lopy and I'll invite to dinner. Give me a call the beginning of next week and we can make a date.

Best
Rogov
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Re: Chateauneuf and Vacqueyras: A Morning Tasting

by Ido GalOn » Sat Dec 26, 2009 1:28 pm

Damn it I have a Lopy too.
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Re: Chateauneuf and Vacqueyras: A Morning Tasting

by fred david » Mon Dec 28, 2009 1:12 pm

Bonjour Daniel,
At the begining december, I had a wine show organised by two wine shop owners in Nimes.
One of them is distributing the wine from Emmanuel Raynaud -Chateau des Tours-Chateau Fonsalette-Chateau Rayas.
I had the chance to taste all his wine with Emmanuel who is absolutely not talkative but passionnated.
All theses wines are at the opposite of the modern style who is always looking more colour, structure and full bodied expression.
The production is aged in some barel or "foudre" who are never new : some of them are 50 years old. Or in beton during one year and half.
Then, it stays in the chai for 2 more years.
When I have tasted one my favourite one, Vacqueyras 2003 or Cotes du Rhone 1998, Emmanuel answered me that it was still too young.
A real purpose for a Rhone winemaker as me about grenache and some alived soil expression...
May I ask you if these wines already imported in Israel?
best regards
Fred David
PS December the 31 th, I will be with Marie-Carmen Benavides, the commercial manager of Le Sand des Cailloux. I will inform her about your note, if she does not know it already.
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Re: Chateauneuf and Vacqueyras: A Morning Tasting

by Daniel Rogov » Mon Dec 28, 2009 4:07 pm

Fred, Hello....

The wines of Chateau des Tours and Chateau Rayas sometimes appear in Israel but I have not seen those of Chateau Fonsalette.

Best
Rogov

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