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
Dessert:
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!

Cheers,
Noel


1 comment:

Winedrop said...

Thanks for sharing this!