This is another high-acid, fruity wine that matches up well with a Mediterranean dish like Ribollito [see note below]. It's medium deep with some browning around the edges. Southern Rhone fruit and spice dominate, with a hint of crushed black pepper. The acid level is high enough to provide a good match for the vegetables, but the wine still gives the impression of ripeness and plumpness.
Clos Saint Jean is located in Chateauneuf du Pape, and the vineyards for Les Calades lie just outside the appellation. Clos Saint Jean Chateauneufs were once among the most traditional (and inexpensive) of the appellation, and I got great enjoyment from the 1989, 1990, 1995 and 1998. Les Calades, at $3 to $4 a bottle, was one of my favorite house wines through the 1990s. Starting with the 2003 vintage, Clos Saint Jean hired a winemaker (the very talented and highly regarded Phillipppe Cambie) and started making wines in a more modern style, with some use of new oak and small barrels. I don't deny that some of these changes were for the better, but the prices are much higher now. The 2003 Les Calades was still a bargain when it came on the market, and I bought a case that has already given me more than my money's worth. At this point, however, the 2003 is taking on some tired, burnished notes and tastes older than the 1993 did in 1999.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Clos Saint Jean Les Calades Vin de Pays de Vaucluse, 2003
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Fred, Have you ever tried Chateau des Roques?ReplyDelete
I know of it, Eric, but never tried it. When you travel in the area, it's easy to see that the vines are old (big, gnarly trees) and well kept. Most estates go back at least several generations in the same family. People you meet are friendly and open--no one trying to trick you into buying bad, overpriced wine. It's not rocket science to find good wines (provided you like the style). In fact, it's very hard to find bad wines in Vacqueyras, Cairanne or any of the CDR Villages. Obviously, I'm a fan.ReplyDelete
It sounds heavenly! How often have you been to France, Fred? Sounds like you have some great memories.ReplyDelete
Another Burgundy today. This one is an actual Burgundy, but I think it might be a negociant wine. It's a 2006 Pierre Bouree Fils, Bourgogne, says appellation Controlee right underneath. On the bottom it says Negociant-Eleveur A Gevry Chambertin France. Lots of big words, but at $15 and 12.5% alcohol, it caught my interest.
Definitely more tart than the Loire Pinot, but still mineral and a bit of bramble. Acquiring some bricking and possible depth since I last had it. (six months ago, or so) Good, solid coterminous berry, tart cherry, pomegranate into a respectable finish.
It's nice to take a sip of this and not worry about being near an open flame.
I've been to France six or seven times, but only twice to the Southern Rhone. Can't wait to go back.ReplyDelete
Pierre Bouree makes some good wines; in fact, I still have a 1982 Bouree Gevry Chambertin in the cellar, and I'm not at all anxious about when I open it. I know it will be good but probably not spectacular. Very dependable, long-lived, rarely brilliant but well priced.
Fred, I think I'd like to take a nice, long, vacation....in your cellar.ReplyDelete
What do you charge for a sleeping bag and a corkscrew? ;>
Eric, if you're interested in Burgundy, you should get on Cynthia Hurley's email list (email@example.com). She's offering a Paul Garaudet Monthelie right now for about $28 a bottle. That's a bit steep for me, but I've heard nothing but good things about this producer.ReplyDelete
She also has some good Rhones and Loires from time to time, but again they are a bit steep for me, even though she arranges to have them sent to a retailer near you for only $6 a case.