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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fans of Clos des Papes....this juice may just tickle your fancy....

When I say Clos des Papes fans, I’m referring to those that have been entranced in their white wine, not their more commonly known red…and if you haven’t tried their white Chateauneuf yet, I’m giving you an order to get crackin’! Clos des Papes white Chateauneuf utilizes all the white grapes allowed in the appellation, creating a unique harmony of brisk acidity, depth of fruit and a nutty, minerally core that unravels wonderfully in the cellar. In fact, the Avrils believe that these wines shouldn’t be consumed before their tenth birthday (though I’ve enjoyed them at various points of their evolution in spite of their advice). What I think separates Clos des Papes white from other Chateauneuf is the synergy created from ‘blending grapes,’ instead of the over-reliance on the now fashionable Roussanne (a low acid, honeysuckle inflicted white grape that produces powerful, noteworthy wines that were most famously branded by Beaucastel). Philippe Gimel, an unassuming, yet passionately dedicated producer from the humble Cotes du Ventoux appellation, has crafted astonishing reds and, perhaps more interestingly, a low yielding, stony soil driven white wine that marries ‘blending grapes’ in a similar vein as a baby Clos des Papes. His wines are unfiltered and beautiful representations of a terroir that almost no one knows about.

Profile aside, if Saint Jean du Barroux can evolve like Clos des Papes, this gem may turn into a honeyed, Meursault-like beauty just like Clos des Papes does…and its modest tariff (though obscure distribution) seems ripe for the cellar’s pickin’…if you can find any, decant the hell out of it and see what happens.

Saint Jean du Barroux White Cotes du Ventoux 2005
I may have underestimated this initially, as it requires vigorous decanting to reveal its subtlety. A very hodge-podge blend (like Clos des Papes), featuring a third Bourboulenc, Grenache White and Clairette, reveals a light golden hue and a nose of chamomile, juicy honey dew, baked apple, white flowers and white currants. The palate, which throws an Aubert-worthy chunk of golden-flake speckled sediment, is dramatically precise, with piercing tones of brilliant fruit pumping along a nutty spine that echoes macadamia nut flavors on its whispering finish. Producer Philippe Gimel believes this will be a 25 year wine, and he may, in fact, be onto something, 91+ points.

Imported by none other than Eric Solomon.

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