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....
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
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.
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)
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!