Sunday, June 21, 2015

Lucien Barrot Chateauneuf du Pape, 1989

Ask me my favorite Chateauneuf du Pape, and I would have to give it a lot of thought. I love Pegau Cuvee Reservee, Bois de Boursan, Vieux Donjon, Clos de Pape, Clos Mont Olivet, Les Clefs d'Or, Chante Perdrix, Vieux Telegraphe, Beaucastel. Oh, and I also like Beaurenard, Janasse, Chante Cigale, Fortia, Clos Saint Jean, Lou Frejau, Raymond Usseglio, Pierre Usseglio and older vintages of Grand Tinel. There are many excellent wines in Chateauneuf du Pape, and they were once (not too many years ago) cheap enough to buy in quantity. But if I had to name my No. 1, it would be this one: Lucien Barrot. As one writer put it, having a bottle of Lucien Barrot in the cellar is like having a Van Gogh painting in the attic. It is a jewel among jewels, and it is usually one of the least expensive of Chateauneufs du Pape, probably because the wine takes many years to show its true charm.What better choice for Father's Day dinner of grilled Australian lamb?

Minimal bricking around the edges. At 26 years of age, this wine still shows a deep, dark ruby. No barriques, just good fruit and good traditional winemaking. Bouquet is slow to come around, but it's worth the wait. Everything is blended together so well that it's hard to single out individual smells and flavors, but they focus around strawberry and are beautiful. On the tongue, the wine is smooth as silk. Long finish with lots of subtle fruit and spice qualities. I've had many good Chateauneufs, but this ranks right up there among the best.

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