The Pope is always in style: Chateau Cabrieres, Chateauneuf du Pape 2010

While anything surrounding the Church and the Pope can always be considered controversial, I have found that the wine from the Rhone Valley in France, particularly the Chateauneuf du Pape, often finds common ground in those who love wine. And even with those who don’t know they love it.  (I also really enjoy a Cote du Rhone wine, but that is for another post).

“The Pope’s New Castle” wine was named for Pope Clement V, former Archbishop of Bordeaux who relocated the papacy to the cit of Avignon in 1308, and his successor John XXII, who later erected said castle in this region of France where both these religious leaders found God-like qualities in the local wines. (Okay, I’ve taken a writer’s license to embellish here a bit. But not much–the wine IS good). Chateauneuf’s can be a blend of 13 different Rhone varieties, but they are comprised primarily of Grenache, Syrah and include Cinsault and Mourvedre among others.

Just like all popes are not created equal in the eyes of the masses, neither are all Chaeauneuf du Papes, but the one in question for today, Chateau Cabrieres 2010 could make a choir of angels sing its praise.  And of course, I’m angelic, if nothing else.

The wine: photo-99In a word-divine. The wine is a great balance of fruit and complexity with notes of deep cherry and rasberries, softened by flavors of vanilla and deepened by soft, spicy notes of white pepper.  The wine is both elegant and rich at the same time with a nice, long finish, and it is very drinkable on its own or with rich foods, such as turkey, roasted vegetables, and stuffing. (What? I was eating light for the Holidays).

If you’ve ever entered a large cathedral, it can be daunting to take in all the pomp, circumstance, and pagentry of the Catholic tradition–drinking a glass of this is like finding a seat in a small, aloof alcove underneath a stained glass window where the light shines down directly in front of you. It is quiet here, but charged with a serene energy. This wine feels like this for me.

I was eager to try this one out, but in hindsight after the second glass, believed this wine would have been even better by opening the bottle sooner and letting it “breathe” or by decanting it.  A 2010 wine, this is still a young wine with a good amount of tannin in it, so you can drink it now or save it a bit to enjoy in a year or two.  Be good and give as a gift, or selfish and enjoy the whole bottle yourself.  Definitely a wine for the time and ages. And angels.4of5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

La Dame Rousee roused my spirits

Ever start a new job and think, really? How did I not know it was going to be this busy right away?  In a way, it’s great to wrap oneself up completely in a task, a meeting, conversations and thought.  In another way, the art and practicality of breathing becomes laborious.

Enter a Cotes-Du-Rhone, primarily a Syrah/Grenache blend.   Two or three years ago, I would have thought something ‘unbranded’, or ‘not of a California’ title would have been weak or off in taste.  Now, I’ve come to appreciate a region probably often under-appreciated, except for it’s glittery older sister, the Chateauneuf-du-Pape.  Now I know better, as all older women do, that a table wine can be the star of one’s night and help catch up with the day…and breathing.

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 The wine: The Cotes-Du-Rhone, “La Dame Rousse” by Domaine De La Mordoree  seemed like it would be lackluster in the store.  It was in a bin, it was on sale for $16.99, had a red game bird on its label and displayed the ever popular vintage, 2012. Le sigh.

Opening the bottle up, getting a whiff of the faint fruit, vanilla and cedar notes, I  thought–okay. This is fine for tonight.  On the palette, the red cherries and deep black current came out, as did the spice.  Perhaps it was due to the 14.5% alcohol content, but the flavors seemed as if someone started to draw a blueprint, but then erased it and you can still see the outline and most of the details.  The wine was medium on tannins and on length.  I would have given it a nice 5/10 or on my scale, a 2.5.

Then I read the description of the wine on the winemaker’s website, and noted it said to pair it with deli meats and cheeses (I had not eaten dinner yet),  so I quickly added a smoked gouda to the line-up, and the distant taste and punctuated alcohol all of a sudden become a silky fruit roll up around the tongue, forming a nice lilt around the mouth–like it wanted to frolick in some flowers or chocolate syrup,  but instead, did a small pirouette in silent joy.   Understated, I think, defines a nice CdR.

It was a good, pairing wine (something that perhaps should not stand alone).  I would definitely have a few glasses, but my alarm is going off bright and early to work out, so will not miss the workout for this one.   It was a great chance, though, to catch my breath.

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