Monday, January 16, 2012

Clos Saint Jean Les Calades Vin de Pays de Vaucluse, 1998

I brought out this wine for cooking--beef and vegetables braised in red wine. Most Cotes du Rhone wines, not to mention Vins de Pays, from 1998 are long past their prime. And the last few bottles of Les Calades had tasted a bit faded. Not so with this bottle. I poured some in the pot, added some of the Chaume-Arnaud and kept half a bottle of each for delightful drinking with the meal.

The color is a light but bright crimson--what you might expect from a 1998 or older Chateauneuf du Pape. (And les Calades vineyard is located just outside the Chateauneuf appellation.) I smelled quite a bit of tankiness when I popped the cork, but this faded rather quickly and by dinner time it was sending out beautiful smells of wild strawberries, Provencal herbs and flowers. Very fragrant. Compared to the Chaume-Arnaud, this wine has a delicate texture in the mouth but the flavor concentration is comparable. Ripe and lovely. Berries and flowers.

I paid $4 for this wine more than a decade ago. I'm getting $40 worth of pleasure tonight. The Chaume-Arnaud? I paid $12 at a time when the Euro was strong against the dollar. But it too is a bargain.

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