Sunday, April 21, 2019

Domaine du Pegau Cuvee Reservee Chateauneuf du Pape, 1989

This 1989 Pegau is a wine that just missed the cut for my 80th birthday dinner. So I brought it out for Easter dinner.

Since there is no government warning label on the back, I know that it is the bottle I bought at the winery on an April visit to France in the early 1990s and carried with me by auto and plane the rest of the trip, trying hard to avoid exposure to heat. Some leakage and mild ullage had occurred and the cork was difficult to remove, but the wine itself was fantastic.

The color has lightened with maturity but is still deep and saturated. I opened the bottle a couple of hours early, but the aromas were bright and fresh from the first moment. Cherries, red berries, menthol and aromatic herbs--very fresh for a 30-year-old wine. There are some earthy qualities, and those are precisely what I, and other Pegau fans, love in the wine. You don't have to be a Pegau fan to love this wine, though. It has beautiful sweetness on the mid-palate with great balancing acidity and a finish that just won't quit. Although Pegau is typically thought of as a "big" wine, age has given this bottle an elegant touch.

Ignorant of the customs of the Southern Rhone, I arrived at Pegau at an inopportune time on my trip in 1992. Laurence Feraud, the winemaker, was having lunch with her mother in a beautiful outdoor setting, and, although I apologized profusely for my intrusion, she brushed my apologies away and graciously treated me to a private tasting and educational session. Her wines were not well known at the time but were represented in my part of Michigan by J.C. Mathes of J et R Wines. "Give my best to Professor Mathes," she said. Some 27 years later, I say, thank you, Laurent, for a great tasting and a great bottle of wine.

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