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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Classification of Top Chateauneuf du Pape Producers

Classifications do have a bit of an archaic feel to them, though I freely admit that I’m a sucker when it comes to ranking favorites. The NFL power ranking, BCS polls and top statistical categories that riddle the ESPN airwaves on Sports Center have trickled their way into my fascination with wine. So I figured ranking the top echelon of Chateuaneuf producers would be a fun little exercise. Disagreements are certainly going to arise, but I’m most interested in seeing where we all are on the same page (considering the wines from the region vary widely in terms of style). We don’t have to use a 5 tier format a la Bordeaux (as that seems to be a bit tedious), so let’s keep this to the top 3 growths, with each subsequent growth having less stringent standards. Make a case for or against any which wine you please, and feel free to offer up who your top dogs are & why.

Without the most intense deliberation, these are the domaines that I believe are making the best wines in the region today:

Grand Cru: Vieille Julienne, Pegau, Clos des Papes, Bonneau, Beaucastel

Premier Cru: Charvin (a super second?!), Clos St. Jean, Barroche (both are primed for an upgrade to Grand Cru w/ a bit more experience) Vieux Donjon, Rayas, Janasse, Mordoree, Roger Sabon, Les Cailloux, Pierre Usseglio, Marcoux (it’s debatable, but I’ve just had too many poor bottles from them to put them at the apex)

Cru: Clos du Caillou, Grand Veneur, Chapoutier, La Nerthe, Cristia, Paul Autard, Patrick Lesec, Mas de Boislauzon, Chante Cigale, Ferrand, Beaurenard, Vieux Telegraphe (including la Roquette), Solitude, Vatican, St. Prefert (including Colombis), Clos du Mont Olivet, Bosquet des Papes, Olivier Hillaire, Bois de Boursan, Giraud, Charbonniere, Milliere, La Gardine, Mourre du Tendre, Clos St. Michel, Vieux Lazaret, Raymond Usseglio, Senechaux


Blogger cellar rat said...

great writeup Brad! I've been on a 2 year Rhone kick (is that too long for it to be just a 'kick'?) and agree with the ranking. I've been on a roll w/ Sabon 01 and 03. The 01 Prestige is perhaps the best young Rhone I've had. Do you have any producer spotlights coming soon?

Monday, October 27, 2008  
Blogger Brad Coelho said...

I love it...'is 2 years to long to be just a kick?!' Once you go Rhone, you're never alone! The Sabon 01 is a stud- 01's across the board in the South are jaw-droppers. When are you heading to France?

Monday, October 27, 2008  
Blogger cellar rat said...

We'll be going around Feb, most likely. I'll be in the Rhone, Bdx and Burgundy...resume in hand. We'll be loading up on 01 Prestige.

Monday, October 27, 2008  

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