November 13, 2009

Domaine Charbonniere - Perdrix - Chateauneuf du Pape - 1998

France / Chateauneuf du Pape
$35 / Rhone

Ahh, the joys of having a cellar. With the economy ailing, and me being in an industry that has been severely affected, I am happy to have a cellar to drink during the downturn. I have been drinking 1998 Chateauneuf du Pape on and off for almost 10 years. It was a great vintage, and most of the wines have held up very well.

I was curious how this Domaine held up. A reasonably priced wine, it cost about $25 when I purchased this in 2001. It was a bit tight when I tasted it back then, and has had time to mellow over the years. The tannins have softened, and the wine has morphed into a wonderful treat.

The cork held up beautifully on this wine when I opened it. It poured ruby red, and did not look like a 10+ year wine. The scents from the glass were balsam, black fruit, cherry and a bit of earth. The wine was layered and long. There was still a bit of glycerin which was surprising after all these years. There were still sufficient tannins - though softer then in early life - that leads me to believe this one has 5-7 years left to drink.

Overall, this was a wonderful bottle of wine.

This producer always has a consistently good bottle from year to year. In the great years, this bottle is one that you should stock up on. With 2007 being compared to 1998 as a vintage, I may have to pick up some for the cellar.

What are some of your favorite CDP producers? Not the obvious - like Beaucastle and Pegau - but some of your favorite values in the region? Let me know....

November 6, 2009

Hewitson - "Ned and Henry" - Barossa Valley - Australia - 2006

Shiraz / Mourvedre
Barossa / $22 - $30

Although Australian wines are often labeled by the critical press as "Over the Top", they are still some of the finest values to be found for frugal wine lovers. Consistently delivering a lot of wine for the money, there are some gems to be found that should be on the top of every wine lovers list.

Hewitson is one of my favorite producers in the Barossa Valley. With 8-10 different wines released each year, they are consistently good year to year. Hewitson is one of my "Go-To" producers when I am looking for a wine to impress.

Ned and Henry is a lovely shiraz with a touch of mourvedre blended in for balance. Named after the estates two sons, this wine is big, rich and fruit forward. Those that like Aussie reds will love the balance and richness of this red.

It pours purple and the color is saturated. The nose is gobs of black fruit, red fruit some vanilla and licorice. The wine tastes of black fruit, plum, cola and finished with a hint of nut and earth. This is a medium bodied wine with a decadent feel.

How much can you expect to pay for this decadence? I found this wine on-line for $21.00. If you buy it retail, you can expect to pay up to $30. Even at $30, this is a lot of wine for the money. Most importantly, it is a bottle of wine that will not disappoint. I could easily see folks that taste this wine blind assume it is a $50 bottle of wine.

This wine is imported by John Larchet who owns "The Australian Premium Wine Collection". Any time you see this neck label, I can promise you it is attached to a wonderful wine. I had the chance to taste the entire collection last year with Josh Raynolds of IWC. There was not a bad wine in the bunch.

Maybe the best part of this review today is not specifically this review, but the recommendation to look out for this neck label when searching store shelves for a wine. It may be cheating, but I promise you that you won't go wrong.

Has anyone tasted any other wines in this collection? Do you agree with my analysis? Report back. You can comment following this post.