Our friend Oswaldo invited us for a tasting to 2001 CdPs last night. As always, he was a great host, providing excellent cheeses and a delicious salad, making sure evening was paced so we had a chance to leisurely try -and retry- each wine, and making sure the guest list was interesting.
A white starter as we gathered:
2003 Tardieu-Laurent "Guy Louis" Côtes du Rhône blanc
The combination of Tardieu-Laurent, '03, & white Rhône made me sure that this would be flabby, but by the standards of white Rhône I'd have to say this had decent acidity. Some light coconut/vanilla notes (not as oaky as some T-Ls), rather fragrant peach fruit with a floral component. As noted before, I'm not a big fan of Marsanne, Roussane, or Viognier, so take my lack of enthusiasm with a grain of salt. B
2001 Raymond Usseglio " Cuvée Girard" Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Nose is red berries and a little herb, but palate is quite closed at first. After a while opened up. Jammy kirsch fruit and a little vanillin oak. Pleasant enough, but not especially distinctive. B
2001 Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Surprisingly open, with crushed red berry fruit overlaid with aromas of leather, warm climate herbs, and meat. Evolves with warm black plum fruit alongside the raspberry/cherry, with some black pepper. Typical, structured, complex. Excellent CdP - I don't actually remember a young CdP I've ever liked more, though it certainly has a future. A-/A
2001 Cuvée du Vatican " Sixtine Réserve" Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Tannic and dense. Pretty oaky, though there is a lot of ripe red fruit buoying it up. Certainly impressive, if not my style of CdP. B+/B
2000 Phillippe Delesvaux "Clos de la Guiberderie" Coteaux-du-Layon-St.Aubin
A little bit of a paradox- how can a wine be heavy on the botrytis and short on the complexity? Immediate hit of noble rot, but this is a one-trick pony.
Honey and apricots, but short on finish for a dessert wine. B
A fun night with an interesting group, good food, and excellent conversation (on the physical vs. the metaphysical, Lacan and language, Anglo-Saxon vs. European sensibilities, whether the host should show restraint if a guest is an idiot, and more topics). Thanks Oswaldo.
Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine, B a good wine, C mediocre. Anything below C means I wouldn't drink at a party where it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.