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Connoisseur II Greatest Vintage 2007 Rhone - Printable Version

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- wondersofwine - 04-27-2010 06:49 PM

Here's my crazy schedule from last Saturday in Charlotte. Breakfast at hotel in SouthPark area. Then drive to RitzCarlton uptown and use valet service. Head for ballroom for Pinot Noir Heartbreaker Grape panel at 10:00 AM. Leave hotel by taxi about 11:30 for already-in-progress Vintners Tasting in courtyard at Gateway Village. Sample wines from every booth (but not every winery) and grab a few bites of food. Write down a Spanish Albarino and a Rosado to order later. Cross the stree to the Doubletree and have quick lunch and then get a taxi back to the Ritz Carlton for a 2:00 PM Spanish wines tasting. Only the Spanish tasting had been canceled (perhaps not enough tickets sold?) so they let me attend the Rhone tasting instead which proved expensive (more to come.)

Kevin Zraly of Windows on the World fame was on the dais along with Andy McNamara, Master Sommelier. This was not a blind tasting. We had ten Chateauneuf-du-Pape (I was hoping for a few Northern Rhones in the mix.)

Mention that there are two styles--some producers use miminal oak and large neutral oak barrels. New styles use smaller new oak barrels or foudres.

The first wine was a 2001 CHAPOUTIER BARBE RAC--all the others were from the 2007 vintage.
This was 100% Grenache. Almost plumskins on the palate--leathery. Comment made that fruit will continue to drop out. Long finish.

#2 CHATEAU DE BEAUCASTEL 30% Grenache, some Mourvedre and Cinsault I liked this nose better. Darker and denser than the #1. Blackberries and viscous texture. Kevin Zraly said he felt the tannins kick in at the two-minute mark. He described the color as garnet and said it had a darker red core.
Either Kevin or Andy said lots of tannins and will age effortlessly for 30-40 years.
Priced at $89.

#3 DOMAINE GIRAUD CUVEE LES GALLIMARDES
Kevin commented on high alcohol and sensing tannin in less than ten seconds. Kevin said it had balanced acidity. 90% Grenache fermented in concrete tanks. 10% Syrah fermented in oak. Priced at $82.

#4 DOMAINE ROGER SABON CUVEE PRESTIGE Softer wine, perception of less alcohol than #3, accessible sooner? Kevin said upfront fruit, tannins do kick in later, drying on the finish. I liked this one. Priced at $62.

#5 LE VIEUX DONJON Aged in foudres. Semi-opaque. Kevin--not opened up yet. May have left grape skins with juice too long. Quite tannic at this point. Andrew said he was getting tobacco leaf. Question mark from both Kevin and Andy. Priced at $65.

#6 CHAPOUTIER BARBE RAC Pleasant, has potential. From an old vineyard. Kevin got raspberry and strawberry fruit (Grenache) with a little chocolate sauce. Priced at $125 (but I have seen it on the web for $100 or $110.

#7 DOMAINE DE LA JANASSE Kevin--black fruit, black cherry, black plum on the nose and black cherry in the mouth. Low to balanced acidity. Alcohol doesn't bother him in this wine. 80% Grenache. Andrew--balanced, good but not his favorite. Limited length. Received 98 points from Robert Parker. Needs five years. Priced at $100? On wine-searcher for $50 to $75.

#8 LES BOSQUET DES PAPES CHANTE LE MERLE VIELLES VIGNES Garnet color. Kevin thought it looked older than 2007. Medium in style. Dried out on the finish. Biodynamic growing methods. Question mark from Kevin. Priced at $70.

#9 VIEUX TELEGRAPHE LA CRAU I thought this had a distinctive nose which was immediately appealing. Kevin said balanced components and will age another five years. None of these 2007 wines were inky but rather softer and more accessible than some vintages. Mild on the fruit but full. Andrew said more earth and animal coming out on this one but very drinkable. Would prefer to have it with food. Enjoyable now. Wants to see how it drinks in four years. Andrew compared the smoky meatiness to Slim Jims.

#10 DOMAINE GRTAND VENEUR VIELLES VIGNES. 50% Grenache with quite a bit of Mourvedre. Andrew found this somewhat inky with a distinctive nose--mocha, smoke, oak. Black fruit also. Nearly opaque. Perhaps maceration on skins longer than some others. Dark fruit on palate and powerful tannins. Fruit drops out in time and tannin and acids remain. Recommends having this with steak, parmagiana or fruit (raisins.) Found lots of spiciness in the wine. Priced at $100 or more on wine-searcher.

We were asked for a show of hands regarding our favorites. I liked #2 the Beaucastel and it got some votes, but my favorite, and I think the room's favorite was #9 the Vieux Telegraphe. Then they auctioned off bottles and six packs. This is where attending a Rhone tasting instead of a Spanish tasting became expensive for me. I won the bid for six bottles of the Vieux Telegraphe to be shipped later.

A plug for Kevin Zraly's forthcoming book "Final Ingredient" and for Robert Parker certification course at three levels. $50. Multiple choice test. You have more than one chance to pass.

After this session let out I headed for the Ritz Carlton lounge where I snacked on almonds and a plate of fried green tomatoes and sipped some Earl Grey tea with lemon until I felt I could safely retrieve my car from the valet and drive back to my hotel.

Sunday before leaving town I went back to Arthur's Wine Shop in the Belk SouthPark and ordered some Pinot Noirs and Spanish wines and picked up the Albarino I had liked and two rose' wines (one a Muga).

At Dean and Deluca I had purchased a Kenneth Volk Pinot Noir (from Santa Barbara County) and the McMinns Vineyard 29 Cru that I liked.

On the drive back to Fayetteville Sunday I stopped at a Macalister's deli in Monroe and had a Mediterranean flatbread pizza and lemonade. I had them box half of it for my dinner but while I was in the restroom it got tossed.



[This message has been edited by wondersofwine (edited 04-28-2010).]