Consistent with past years, for finals night of the NCAA tournament I opened a young CdP to see how they are coming along. This year, the 1998 Vieux Telegraph La Crau CdP. I remember opening a bottle in 2002 and it was absolutely disgusting. Thin, angular, no fruit whatsoever, acidic, and smelled like a medicine cabinet with too old liquid medicine seriously dripped all over. Two years later, coming around a bit. This year - what a difference. This wine was downgraded by Arpie probably because it was not a fruit bomb, and it isn't. First night, when Florida kicked the crap out of UCLA, it was a bit on the thin side, with some dark cherry fruit showing, a bit of spice, and a tiny hint of rhone funk. Perfectly proper rhone style wine - perfect with the spiced steaks we had, even though I would place it on the el egant side. Tonight, as I wait for the women's NCAA finals to see Duke kick the crap out of the Terps, WOW, more rhone funk showing, more dark fruit, tremendous mouthfeel, in perfect balance, but clearly this has a ways to go before it shows all that secondary stuff. I'll dip into my remaining stash only after a couple more years.
My retailer talked me into trying a 2003 rhone, which I had been resisting because of the hot season and everything I'd read, but he was having a real special on 2003 Perrin Reserve CdR so I took a bottle. I have to say that this is a bit low on both acidity and rhone funk, and a bit short, but what a splash of red and black fruit and it certainly tastes like CdR is supposed to taste. This is one CdR maker that uses Cinsault in the blend, along with the usual suspects, and it may just add a touch of complexity missing from most. Not an ager (it did not improve the second day and was actually a bit more tannic) but a wonderful BBQ wine. I went back for a case. Why not, at $7.08 a bottle?