Thursday, February 22, 2007

Welcome to my Châteauneufs

Eric Asimov, wine writer for the New York Times, has done several recent stories revolving thematically around Chateauneuf-du-Pape wines.

Most interestingly, the "Best Value" Eric's tasting group, the Domaine de Monpertuis 2004, is miraculously available within the PLCB system, and also, at a store near me. The wine is expensive, the PLCB offers it for $30.49, although Eric bought it in NYC for $32. Score one for the bulk-purchasing power of the PLCB. Oh. But wait. You can buy it for $27.99 in Marlton, NJ.

I wouldn't normally want to buy a $30 bottle of wine, but it's a rare occasion that a wine I read about is available to me, and it just so happened that Corina just got a new job. So it was both cause for celebration and cause for wine exploration. When I got to the wine store, I found the wine not on the standard shelves, but on the racks in the special, temperature-controlled back room of the store. I give rare praise --- this climate controlled wine transport and storage is one way that the PLCB does not suck. We have the work of former chairman Jonathan H Newman to thank for that.

So with wine in hand, Corina and I went in for an evening of roasted beets and risotto cakes, and some Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Eric (et al) describe the wine as "earthy," "old-fashioned," and with a balance between "raspberry and tart herbal aromas." Corina and I agreed that the wine was quite good, which makes me proud, since Eric says the wine is "a wine lovers' wine." Our tasting notes give it a dark and earthy raspberry nose and flavor, with an attack that starts sharp, but then lingers mellowly for quite some time. There was something that eluded me in the tasting and the aroma that I could not place. My best guess was mint, but I am doubtful. With all that said, I know how pompously this all reads, and I commiserate. I would buy this again if it cost less than $15, but I'm an explorer, and it's rare I would ever buy any wine again (The exception being the wonderful Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, which I have to get).

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