For my 79th birthday on Saturday (March 30), I chose two of my favorite Chateauneufs from the 1989 vintage. Each wine had faded a bit from its past glories, but I'm sure I have too. It was a good occasion for well aged Chateauneuf du Pape. With slow-cooked leg of lamb and roasted potatoes, they were delicious.
1989 Chante Perdrix is one of the best Chateauneufs (and one of the best wines) I have ever tasted, but it's been a few years since my last bottle. Even in its relative youth, this Chante Perdrix was light colored and light bodied--seemingly tannin free--but with incredibly deep, complex and persistent smells and flavors. Tonight, it takes two or three hours of aeration to bring out the those ethereal qualities. Grenache red berry and dried flowers. Still a great wine.
1989 Janasse Vieilles Vignes is several shades darker and has some tannic firmness, but I find it a struggle to coax out scents typical of a Chateauneuf du Pape. Flavors are a bit better: some dark as well as red fruit. Most at the table preferred the Chante Perdrix, but this too is a very good wine.