Saturday, March 7, 2009

2007 Chateauneuf du Pape Vintage--Buy or Wait?

In comments on the Jaboulet post, "Anonymous" and I discussed the merits of buying wines from the 2007 vintage in Chateauneuf du Pape. By every indication, the vintage is going to produce some spectacular wines. Great wines usually come from great vintages, and there will undoubtedly be some wines from this vintage that will be highly sought after in two or three decades--wines comparable to the 1989 and 1990 Beaucastel, the 1990 Pegau and the 1998 Vieux Donjon. If owning wines like these is a high priority for you, then you should indeed buy at least a few 2007 Chateauneufs.

On the other hand, there are price issues that should be taken into consideration. Prices for Southern Rhone wines are at an all-time high, and production from this area is much higher than from Burgundy or Bordeaux. Look at auction prices at or consignment prices at, and you'll see many very good older Chateauneufs at reasonable prices--1995 Fortia for $35, 1995 Clos des Pape for $40, 1998 Pierre Usseglio for $35, 2000 Vieux Donjon for $40 (all at HDH). These are very good wines that should be drinking well over the next 10 to 15 years. Before shelling out $65 to $100 for a 2007 that MIGHT develop into a great wine over that same period, you should at least consider some of these older wines.

If you're looking for something to drink over the next five years, then you probably should not be spending big money for a bottle of wine. A good Chateauneuf du Pape will taste delicious when it is very young, then will most likely go into somewhat of a shell until age 10 or 12. But what you're paying big money for is the potential that it MAY achieve after that time. Over the next five years, the wines I'd most like to drink come from Cairanne, Vacqueyras, Gigondas, Valreas and Vinsobres. They cost $10 to $20 a bottle, are showing well right now and will get better over the next few years.


  1. Fred, any particular domaines you'd be looking at in the Rhone Villages?
    I'm biased towards the $10-$20 range myself, but I really like Chat flavors.

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