Saturday, October 6, 2012

Chateau de la Nerthe, Chateauneuf du Pape, 2006

This one was drunk with Betsy and Steve Galloway, dear friends from York, England, on the first night (Oct 5, 2012) they were visiting in Paris. A local eatery, La Vache Acrobate (acrobatic cow) listed this and knowing the name of La Nerthe though not the wine itself, I took a flyer and it was a very good choice. Absolutely first rate nose with the rich grenache, I'd say, slightly predominant over syrah. Finish not terribly long, but the tannin is already nicely resolving and the fruit full of the strawberry grenache of which I'm so fond. The slight sense of lavender and spice, the good balance of acid with fruit, evolving with other red and black fruits as it aired, made this a real pleasure to drink with an excellent meal of tuna tartare and then lamb chop. Wine went great with both.  I'm guessing this wine will do well for another 5-10 years and would give it 92+ points.

Parker 92 points: The 2006 Chateauneuf du Pape (a blend of 53% Grenache, 27% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre and the rest various other red varietals) shows a much more spicy, earthy, peppery nose. It is medium to full-bodied, with wonderfully broad, savory flavors and a heady finish. These two wines demonstrate the total contrast in styles between the vintages. The 2006 is spicier, slightly herbal, but full, and 2007 is super-deep, multi-layered, but with more black fruits and less spice, at least at this stage of their development.

Brunello di Montalcino 2004 Il Poggione

I brought this along with me to dine at the delightful Gustibus, a restaurant that opened 2 months ago and happens to be located right across the street from the apartment at 46 Rue St. Sebastien, Paris 75011. Very happy to have found this place 100 meters from the apartment! Again eating with Betsy and Steve Galloway.

Very fine aroma, now ready to drink but five years more, I'd guess of drinkability. Predominance of cherry, licorice then some blackberry on the nose, with vanilla oak and a slight hint of spice, perhaps mint. Nice moderately long finish. Actually one of the better Brunello's I've had in recent years. Lovely color and texture too. 94 points from me. Note Parker says this will drink well for 20+ years from now; I bow to him. This is some very fine Brunello indeed.

95 points from Parker: The 2004 Brunello di Montalcino is awesome. This finessed, regal Brunello flows onto the palate with seamless layers of perfumed fruit framed by silky, finessed tannins. The wine remains extremely primary at this stage, and its full range of aromas and flavors have yet to emerge, but the sheer pedigree of this Brunello is unmistakable. The elegant, refined finish lasts an eternity, and subtle notes of menthol, spices, licorice and leather add final notes of complexity. The estate’s 2004 Brunello is a wine to buy and bury in the deepest corner of the cellar. Brunello is never inexpensive, but this is the real deal, and in relative terms, it is one of the world’s great values in fine, cellar worthy wine. Incredibly, there are 18,000+ cases of the 2004 Brunello, so it should be fairly easy to source in various markets. The Brunello is made from four vineyards ranging from 250 to 400 meters in altitude, all in Sant’Angelo in Colle. The wines from the various vineyards were aged separately in French oak casks prior to being assembled and bottled. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2034. 

I was completely blown away by the wines I tasted from Il Poggione this year. Readers who want to experience first-class Sangiovese from Montalcino won’t want to miss these exceptional wines. Winemaker Fabrizio Bindocci and his team have done an exceptional job for which they deserve all the praise in the world.