On Monday 18th April Rob treated  the WING group to a tasting of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The tasting took the form of three blind pairs of wines – one from 2006 and one from 2007. The three pairs were: from Domaine Font de Michelle (near Bedarrides in the East of the Appellation; from Château Mont-Redon (from the North West); from La Roquette (part of the Vieux Telegraph stable, but from just North of the eponymous town, near the centre of the area).

In general the 2007 is rated (and priced) more highly of the two vintages, typically scoring 9 or 10 – as opposed to 8 for 2006. 2007 is often referred to as “classy and structured”, while 2006 juicier and more forward… We will see…

Here are my notes:

Domaine Font de Michelle
The 1st wine had a slightly duller and more brick-ish colour. The nose was open with over-ripe plums with a slightly vegetal note. The palate has fruit that is very sweet with a sharp undertow and a grainy finish – more Grenache seeming (although both wines are 65%-70% Grenache).
The 2nd wine was clear with a purple tinge. The nose more closed with black fruit and a Bordeaux-ish cedar hint. The palate is more tannic with structure containing long sweet – but not obtrusive – fruit. Very poised and balanced and with some development yet to go…
All indications showed the first wine was the more mature of the two, and so it proved:
Wine 1 was 2006, Wine 2 – 2007.

Château Mont-Redon
The 3rd wine had bright colour and a self-coloured rim.The nose with immediate wood and a spicy prickle. The palate is dry and quite structured with a tannic line right to the finish. The overall quite balanced with a more Syrah style: blackberry, drying, spicy, slightly brackish…
The 4th wine is very similar, maybe a slightly browner rim and a quieter nose. The palate is a little softer with red stone fruit and a warm undercurrent, some over-ripe fruit again but dry liquorice notes.
This is trickier but Wine 3 seems a little more “classic” and Wine 4 a little more mature. Again so it proved:
Wine 3 is 2007; Wine 4 is 2006.

La Roquette
The 5th wine certainly is a little more orange and has a very strong bottle stink – pickled onions and compost… Palate again has a brackish hint with a leathery note and tannic and acidity turning grainy and going into coffee quite quickly.
The 6th wine has a strong nose – dark fruit, a dusty hint and a medicinal note. This has a heavy tannic structure lifted by a ripe fruit-acid line. This seems more robust than the previous wine, and certainly has some time left.
As it turns out there is a fault in Wine 5, a slight oxidation yielding a shorter life and the fusty nose, and in fact it is 2007. Whereas the bigger longer-lived wine (of these samples) Wine 6 is the 2006!

A fascinating tasting which shows the different sorts of packages available within the appellation, although all are big and alcoholic (all 14.5%). As a pair I preferred the first:  Font de Michelle, with the 2006 more typical IMO: big fruity and supple. However the 2007 – more structured and subtle – is a great, although not all that typical wine, and my favourite of the night. The last wine (La Roquette 2006) is good but in a darker, grainier style…

Thanks so much Rob!

Until next time…