A tribute to Rhone’s God, Mr. A. After our Rhone dinner early this year, we continue with a CDP dinner which the line up is even more superior. 2000 Secret de Sabon was the WOTN for almost everyone, with 2000 Capo and 2000 Rayas followed closely. But hey, I’m splitting hair here as almost every single wine expressed well with top notch quality (after some really long preparation). This is one of the most memorable dinner for sure.
Flight 1: CDP Blancs I was surprised that the Pegau blanc was still so fresh and lively! However, the Beauscastel Roussanne VV was the real star of the night! 2001 Domaine du Pégaü Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Cuvée Réservée – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
- Alcohol :: 13.5% Light golden that display refreshing aromas of honey, sea breeze, almond, pear and melon. A little bit oily at entry but quickly covered by the crisp acidity and elegant white and yellow fruits with lots of mineral at the background. Though small scale, but this has really good focus, freshness and transparency to it with gentle grip and energy. Long, detail finish with almond, mineral aftertaste. 89
2001 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Cuvée Roussanne Vieilles Vignes – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
- Alcohol :: 13.5% Dark golden. WOW, this is powerful! Compared to the more restraint Pegau Blanc, this is definitely a more sexy, open knit juice. So much depth and complexity on both nose and palate. Marmalade, honeycomb, honeysuckle, caramelize apple intermixed with perfume chrysanthemum, mineral and tons of yellow fruits that formed the superb complex, intense aromas that is almost impenetrable. Opulent and succulent on the palate that loaded with ripe yellow fruits, almond, dried herbs and mineral with excellent depth, power and lushness. Quite oily on the mid palate but this remain highly focus and delineated. I really like the purity and energy here, it coated the tongue gently and refuse to let go and move on to the incredibly long finish that is surprisingly clean with stunning persistent. This is no doubt the Montrachet of Southern France. Not at its peak yet, another 3-5yrs perhaps? 93-94+
Flight 2: 2000s
The 2000 is relatively more friendly compared to the rest hence the top-3 WOTN all from this flight.
– Domaine Roger Sabon Secret des Sabon was the most approachable wine as well as offer most finesse.
– Chateau Rayas was delicious but not as good as the previous bottle.
– Domaine Pegau cuvee Capo was… amazing but not drinking at its peak yet, hence rank 2.
– Domaine Beauscastel cuvee Hommage…. sigh….
- Alcohol :: 15% Popped 3hrs in advanced. My first secret! Vibrant, medium ruby red. Nose is powerful and intense, slightly lower tone than the Rayas with herbs, spices, dark chocolate, charcoal, grill meat as well as cherry liquor and blackcurrant. Full bodied, highly concentrated sweet dark fruits along with spices, smoke meat, roasted herbs that is complex and wonderfully balance and flirting with impeccable precision and finesse. Very impact and expansive on the palate with good lushness, purity and freshness. The detail finished is stunningly long, almost endless with dried fig paste, lots of haw flakes aftertaste. This great juice is full of finesse and is hauntingly delicious and complete, so much so that almost everyone vote this as their WOTN, including myself. 94
- Alcohol :: 14% Popped 3hrs in advanced. Light bricking red. The nose is stunningly expressive and aromatic with perfume lavender and roses, sweet red cherry and raspberry, garrigue and spice box. It is always amazing why there is so much intensity and richness on this light brick red. Detail layer of sweet candy, candied red cherry, herbs, spices and mineral intermixed with the inner perfume of roses and lavender for the complex, lush mouth feel with incredible lift and vivacity. The low-medium level of very fine tannin lending good grip at the long finish. This is delicious for sure and I can’t help but keep sniffing the intoxicating aromas however the overall transition of the palate as well as depth is not as fantastic as the previous bottle. 93
- Alcohol :: 15.5% Popped 3hrs in advanced and decanted for 3hrs. My first capo. Some of my friend who had the 2007 earlier this year was rather disappointed. However, quoted by them, this is a much better wine in term of overall profile. Indeed, this is yet another stunning juice tonight. Dark ruby red with pink rim. Tons of herbs, garrigue, orange peel, kirsch liquor and licorice surrounded by smoke meat, charcoal, dried fig paste, raspberry and tons of dark fruits that added additional breadth and depth to the already complex aroma profile. Very sweet on the entry but with incredibly bright acid for the freshness and focus and continue to gain weight on the superb intense mid palate that bring out the depth and structured. The tannin is barely noticeable as the concentration here is enormous that completely buffer of the sweet tannin. Earth, mushroom with a little bit of heat at the super long, sweet and spicy infused finish. With time, the heat disappeared and offer even better precision and purity. While it is excellent now, this will need many years to really hit the peaks. 95-97
2000 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Hommage à Jacques Perrin – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
- Sadly, this wine was corked. What a shame! Our planned was to compare this and the Capo. Duh!
Flight 3: 2006s
2006 is definitely a very good vintage in CDP, that’s all I can say:
– Henri Bonneau Celestins – Purity, stylish
– Domaine de la Mordoree Reine des Bois – Power, balance
– Clos des Papes – Lush and more forward 2006 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
- Alcohol :: 15.2% Decanted for 9hrs. Dark ruby red with purplish hue. Licorice, garrigue, dark fruits, crushed stone and spice box, this is quite complex but not really expressive. Full bodied but quite approachable thanks to the enormous concentration of sweet dark fruits as well as sweet tannin. This has very good depth but perhaps lack a little bit of complexity as well as dimension compare to some other wines tonight. I pretty enjoy the powerful, lush mouth feel with sweet taste along with incredible freshness and focus. Dried fig paste, sweet candy at the very long finish with herbs and spices. Though this is over-shadowed by some other wines tonight, this still will be an excellent juice if serve by itself. 91
2006 Henri Bonneau Châteauneuf-du-Pape Réserve des Célestins – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
- Alcohol :: 14.5% Popped one day in advanced and decanted for 3hrs. This vibrant medium ruby red reveal gorgeous aromas of licorice, pepper, garrigue, sweet cherry, kirsch and wrapped in a high tone floral and wildness. Very rich and intense, everything is wrapped in such as compact package. This is similar to the 2001, very powerful but with the sense of restraint and tension. The sweet dark fruits was pure along with herbs, mineral, tea leaves that covered by the massive level of very fine tannin at the moment. Despite of the massive structured and concentration, this large scale Celestine offer great depth, purity, energy as well as razor sharp precision that lead to the very long and fine finish. This is not really showing today despite the long aeration. With the materials, 10-15yrs down the road, this will surely turn into something truly astonishing. Patience is much needed. 93-95
2006 Domaine de la Mordorée Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée de la Reine des Bois – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
- Alcohol :: 15% Popped for 5hrs. WOW, yet another power house. This has astonishing intensity that immediately coated the mouth. The powerful, tannic backbone formed the solid structured that is impossible to penetrate with the sweet dark fruits having buried underneath, as well as mushroom, herbs, kirsch and mineral. This has enormous power to it but relatively light on its feet with super long finish with bitter sweet cocoa aftertaste, thanks to the lively acidity as well as mineral for the freshness and lift. Wow! I”m really impress by the quality of this wine, even more so when the price is not going to break the bank like Beaucastel Hommage / Bonneau Celestin does. 92-94
Flight 4: 2007s
2007 is no a doubt a great vintage in CDP, but also some hit and miss here…..
– Domaine Janasse cuvee VV – One of my all time favorite!
– Chateau Simian cuvee d’Hippolyte – Consistently disappointing…
2007 Château Simian Châteauneuf-du-Pape les Grandes Grenachieres d’Hippolyte – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
- Alcohol :: 16% Decanted for 8-9hrs. This wine just painfully sweet and alcoholic this round, despite being decanted for at least 9hrs. Kirsch liquor, overly sweet dark fruits and lots of roasted herbs all wrapped in a very alcoholic profile. It was highly concentrated on the palate with unbelievable sweet. Fleshy, opulent and voluptuous that lacks of the structured and acidity for a right balance and lift. This was rather rough and heavy when the tannin kick in right after mid palate, the worst of the night. Finished is long and powerful, as well as very alcoholic with heat. 98pts? Hmm…. 88?
- Alcohol :: 15.5% Popped one day in advanced and decanted for 3hrs. Power and highly intense, but rather tight and shy which only reveal aromas of sweet dark cherry and licorice, but one can sense there is a lot material hiding underneath. Huge and sweet on the palate, but with amazing freshness, purity as well as firm structured for the balance. Quite light on its feet with finesse for a wine with such power and concentration. Endless layer of sweet dark fruits and licorice, dark chocolate, coffee, camphor and roasted meat on the mid palate with attractive inner perfume which really impressed me. The tannin is well control in silky form, and long massive finish that offer seductive juiciness and richness. This too will need at least 7-10yrs to really hit its drinking window. 94-96+
2003 Clos Saint Jean Châteauneuf-du-Pape Deus-Ex Machina – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
- Alcohol :: 14.5% Popped and poured and this reveal complex aromas of herbs, garrigue, spices as well as Kirsch. Sweet on the palate but with fine silky tannin and structured to support that leads to the very long finish with just a trace of alcohol heat, of which is acceptable. Poured into (with Vinturi) decanter with the wine rest in it for about 3hrs. The nose was rather alcoholic with powerful cherry liquor, roasted herbs and nail polished. Sweet and highly concentrated on the palate but this is rather lack of the structured and definition. Sweet, heavy and alcoholic that dominated the palate with sweet, alcoholic finish. 89?
Flight 6: 2005s 2005, backward, structured and power that need decades to come around. Both Hommage and Domaine Pierre Usseglio cuvee Deux Freres proved that….
2005 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Hommage à Jacques Perrin – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
- Alcohol :: 14.5% Popped one day in advanced and decanted for 3.5hrs. Dark ruby with purplish hue. The nose is powerful and pretty tight still: soy sauce, licorice, garrigue and fruits that bury underneath. Massive on the palate with solid structured and that hiding the sweet dark fruits, smoke meat and roasted herbs. This monstrous wine possess immense power in it yet with such detail, layer, purity and focus along with excellent freshness and roundness that carry on to the very fine, intensely long finish. This stunning juice will need min 10yrs to really come around. Patience! 94-96+
2005 Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape Réserve des Deux Frères – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
- Alcohol : 15% WOW, what a behemoth like structured and unreal power that you must tasted to believe. Nose was superb intense and deep, coffee, dark chocolate, roasted meat and herbs with sweet dark cherry and blackcurrant fruits. This has massive concentration and richness that coated the entire mouth and tongue immediately with tons of sweet dark fruits and roasted herbs kick in later. Unreal power and concentration yet with very firm structured and tannin for the right balance and precision. This is driven by power yet well in-check. The finished is long and powerful, lingering. Definitely the most structured wine tonight and still a baby even after open for a day and decanted for 4hrs. This will need at least 15yrs……. 93-95
Flight 7: Royal Tokaji
A Royal Tokaji Aszu Essencia to end… lovely.
1996 Royal Tokaji Wine Co. Aszú Essencia – Hungary, Hegyalja, Tokaji
- Alcohol :: 7% Popped 5hrs in advanced. This deep golden liquid display intensely sweet aromas of honey coated dried apricot and peaches along with autumn leaves and Bortrytis note. Still rather primary on the palate, deeply concentrated with beautiful balance. However, this is actually quite monolithic now, not expressive and only offer sweet intense fruits on the palate that almost viscous in texture. The finish is long and clean though. I don’t know how long it needs to take to evolve, but for sure will be more than a decade. 90