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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Chateauneuf du Pape: The Minor, The Modern and The Marcoux

A white, for good measure:

Chateau Soucherie Anjou '07
This bright, Savenneires-like Chenin is as bone dry as an over-done Turkey. While its nose initially seemed a bit superficial, the scents blossom to a sunflower, chamomile and lime perfume. In the mouth, a tangy, spice-laden beam of green fruits builds on the palate nicely, w/ a sense of liquid minerality emerging upon aeration. While this lacks the depth and persistence of a Savennieres, it provides a great introduction into the beauties of young Loire-based Chenin, 86 points.

The Minor (as in ‘infant’)

Alain Corcia, Creme de la Creme '06
A 'best lot' cuvee from Corcia is ready to rock and roll right out of the gates, filling the air w/ alluring cherry, cassis, licorice and rose petal notes that glide along a sweet, yet firm frame; covering its tannin beautifully well at this stage, with another 10-15 years of prime drinking in store for this beauty from Corcia, 91 points.

The Modern:

Grand Veneur Les Origines, '05
This is a deep purple colored, somewhat modern slant on Chateauneuf du Pape that does an oaky tap dance for the first hour or so until it starts to reveal its Provencal soul, paving the way for iron, grilled herbs, melted licorice, cracked pepper, cocoa dusted blue and black fruits to emerge from the glass. In spite of its mouth-filling, extracted profile, there is a savory, almost chewy under-toe that keeps things honest and churning along its powerfully tannic, sinewy spine. While there is plenty of tasty, rich flesh to munch on today, this cuvee really needs 4-5 years to click into equilibrium for prime drinking, 93+ points.

Again, I have zero issue w/ barrique aging a Grenache based wine (though I don't exactly see the benefit, save for a wine that lacks structure), but I would like to see the more progressive houses adapt to an already tannic vintage accordingly, as more tannins really weren't necessary in '05.

Paul Autard Cote Ronde, '05
Another purple colored, progressive cuvee in '05 comes from Autard, w/ an aromatic profile that weaves in some flashy toast to the mix of grilled herbs, meat juices, spice box and pepper notes. Things turn vivid and a bit atypical in the palate as blue and purple fruits make an appearance on the mouthful of sweet glycerin tinged, medium to full bodied fruit. There is high tannin, good acidity and an overall symmetry that bodes well for future cellaring, 92+ points.

The Marcoux:

Marcoux, Ephemere '03
A deep, dark perfume seethes from the glass of this recently purchased plot from Marcoux (certified biodynamic after the '03 vintage and later became incorporated into the more broad CDP cepage) that reveals warm date bread, wood smoke, black raspberry liqueur loam and bittersweet cocoa powder notes that zip their way into the palate. A sweet, yet fantastically savory mouthful of dark fruits, interwoven w/ fresh garrigue essences tantalize the senses, turning powerful yet silky a la Henri Bonneau.. This Marcoux is a fantastic, meal of a wine that I don't imagine will last forever, but at 94 points I still may be underrating it.

Where does a wine of this decadent intensity get its energy? In Marcoux we trust.


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