Saturday, February 16, 2013

Boston Wine Festival Chateauneuf-du-Pape Dinner

Some of our very dear friends gave my darling wife and I tickets to the Boston Wine Festival's Chateauneuf-du-Pape seminar & dinner as a wedding present.  Since the event roughly coincided with Valentine's Day, we decided to make a romantic weekend out of it and got a hotel room in Boston.  To say the event was sumptuous doesn't quite provide a good description!

Held in the Atlantic Room of the Boston Harbor Hotel, the seminar was hosted by Alain & John Junguenet of Wines of France (Mr Chateauneuf-du-Pape and his son) and featured wines from 6 wineries.

Chateau Fortia Chateauneuf-du-Pape "Tradition" Rouge 2011 (3/4/4/1/1 = 13 AWS pts)
60% Grenache/40% Syrah  Light color--almost a dark rose.  Fruity nose with black cherry & pepper.  Tiny hint of leather.  Good acidity but a short finish with a bitter end.

Domaine Lafond 'Roc-Epine' Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rouge 2011 (3/5/4/2/2 = 16 AWS pts)
80% Grenache/20% Syrah.  Grenache was fermented & aged in stainless steel while syrah was aged in oak.  Dark purple color.  Heavy fruity nose with blackberry & plum.  Big mouthfeel, very dry tannic finish that lingered with a slight hint of vanilla.

Bosquet des Papes Chateauneuf-du-Pape "Tradition" Rouge 2011 (3/5/5/2/2 = 17 AWS pts)
75% Grenache/12% Mourvedre/10% Syrah/3% Cinsault-Counoise.  Very Dark color purple.  Floral nose with raspberry, black pepper, & nutmeg.  Smooth, full body with medium tannins.

Le Vieux Donjon Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rouge 2011 (3/3/3/1/1 = 11 AWS pts)
75% Grenache/15% Syrah/5% Mourvedre/5% Cinsault.  Dark purple.  Odd nose of black pepper, cinnamon, tobacco, green pepper, & Band-aid.  Very tight on the palatte with lavender finish.  A disappointment.

Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils Chateauneuf-du-Pape "Tradition" Rouge 2011 (3/5/5/3/2 = 18 AWS pts)
80% Grenache/10% Syrah/5% Mourvedre/5% Cinsault.  Dark purple.  Cherry, vanilla, caramel, & floral notes on the nose.  Smooth & silky on the tongue with a nicely lingering finish.  Very drinkable!

Chateau Sixtine Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rouge 2011 (3/3/4/2/2 = 14 AWS pts)
40% Grenache/35% Mourvedre/25% Syrah.  Very dark purple.  Spare nose with light aromas of cherry, vanilla, & white pepper.  Full body & good tannins.

Some of the winemakers were present to describe their wines, so it was a treat to hear their obvious love of the wines.  Our absolute favorite was the Usseglio & Fils.  After the seminar, we retreated to the entry hall & enjoyed a glass of Moet Chandon Blanc de Noirs Champagne while the tables were cleared and reset for dinner.  Then the dinner began....

First Course.
Pan Fried Brook Trout with Maine Lobster & Tarragon Sauce
Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils Blanc 2011 (3/5/5/2/1 = 16 AWS pts)
     Crisp, citrus, apricot, & a slight butteriness
Chateau Sixtine Blanc 2011 (3/4/4/2/1 = 14 AWS pts)
     Dark golden with dried floral, petrol, & vanilla

Second Course:
Smoked Long Island Duck Breast with Black Olives, Baby Zucchini, Eggplant, & Acini di Pepe Pasta
Le Vieux Donjon Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rouge 2009 (3/4.5/4/2/1 = 14.5 AWS pts)
     Almost nebbiolo-like.  Meaty, cardamon, & cinnamon.  Spicy finish.
Clos des Papes Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rouge 2009 (3/5/5/2/2 = 17 AWS pts)
     Heavy, meaty, black fruits with smooth, silky finish & soft tannins.

Third Course:
Red Wine Braised Short Ribs with Winter Vegetables
Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils 'Cuvee de Mon Aieul' 2004 (3/5/5/3/2 = 18 AWS pts)
     Dark, red fruits.  Smooth & very drinkable
Cuvee du Vatican 'Reserve Sixtine' 2004 (3/5/6/3/2 = 19 AWS pts)
     Inky dark, black fruit, pepper, cinnamon, & raisins.  Medium tannins but very drinkable
(Both wines in magnums)

Fourth Course:
French Cantal Cheese & Wild Mushroom Filled Puffed Pastry
Chateau Fortia 'Cuvee du Baron' 2004 (3/5/5/2/1 = 16 AWS pts)
     Tobacco, leather, meat, vanilla, dried cherry, cinnamon, & bramble fruits
Domaine Lafond 'Roc-Epine' 2006 (3/5/5/3/2 = 18 AWS pts)
     So good that I didn't take notes
Warm Apple Cinnamon & Phyllo Clafoutis

See what I mean about sumptuous?  My belly is still full and my head still aches a tad bit.  All in all, a very delightful evening that we were grateful to experience.  Got to meet some new people both wine industry folks & wine enjoyers, and sampled some excellent wines.  The 2011 vintage from Chateauneuf-du-Pape is a bit of a mixed bag, but there were some very good wines.  And the older wines were simply stunning.  The 'Papes have always been one of my favorites and they did not disappoint!


1 comment:

Winedrop said...

Thanks for sharing this!