With boneless leg of lamb marinated in black pepper and red wine, this mature wine was superb. The color was deep and dark for a 30-year-old Grenache-based wine. There were amber tones, of course, but you had to look for them. Opening the bottle was like opening a sealed container of exotic spices and dried berries. Very concentrated. It was the same on the palate--silky smooth and full-bodied. The label doesn't indicate alcohol level, but I suspect it is fairly high by the standards of 1978--14% maybe. The finish is cool with concentrated but not over-ripe fruit. This has to rank with the best red wines I have ever tasted.
I had the 1989 Chante Perdrix a couple of times last year and thought it was excellent but fading. This 1978 today tastes younger and better than the 1989, although I now suspect that the 1989 still has some years to go. Old-vine Grenache can take some unexpected turns, and the 1989 has the same range of exotic scents and flavors.
Chante Perdrix is a very traditional estate with old vines and old wine-making methods. Current vintages can be purchased for about $20 to $25--cheap by today's Chateauneuf du Pape standards.