This was our second tasting of the greatest of all southern Rhone appellations; the last time being in February 2006. Most remarkable about this tasting was that it was the first time we were presented with three bottles from the same producer, but from three different vintages.
Half of all the entries came from the superlative 2007 vintage, including the winner.
Thanks to Devienna and Gary for being the night's guest tasters.
First Place: Domaine Monpertuis Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2007. Like many of these, it starts off funky, and then moves to aromas of heavy cream, smoke, dust, campfire, blackberry, tomato plant, and red berries. Tasters described it as mysterious and intriguing. Very balanced on the palate, with a creamy, smooth feel to go with the dark berry and pineapple flavors. Good weight. Orange peel on the finish. Kristin, Devienna, Andy, and Ali voted for this as their favorite of the night. Received 29 points. Kristin's bottle. About $53.
Second Place: Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2004. Looks unfiltered. David noted immediately that it "smells blue", and Andy felt it was an "expensive room". Sophisticated notes of scotch, cedar, and nori. Andy was reminded of "Donald Draper's office". Tasted very complete, with a rich, buttery quality. Good depth, and well-balanced. Flavors of dark fruits, iodine, and sea salt. Nice tart lift on the long finish. Ali wanted a little more out of it. David and Gary's favorite of the night. Received 21 points. David's bottle. About $60.
Third Place: Domaine de La Cote de l'Ange Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2007. Funky/fecal barnyard scents that were reminiscent of horse stable, body odor, fungus, acrylic paint, and ink. David noted "sweaty woolen sock", and Andy said, "Miles would lick this". Like a field trip to a farm. Fleshy in the mouth, with funky cheese, crayola crayon, wax, and nuts. Gary felt that, "if it's good enough for the Pope, it's good enough for me." Received 13 points. Andy's bottle. About $42.
Domaine Pontifical Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2007. Very red and clear. A little funky, but with aromas of plums, black olives, Ajax, and leather. Ali noted "dirty sponge". Tasters detected dark fruit, cola, cherries, and hints of spice/charcoal on the relatively quick finish. Ripe and juicy, with a smooth, fleshy quality. Received 12 points. Ali's bottle. About $42.
Domaine Monpertuis Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2005. Fresh cut grass, subtle wild flower, and Brussels sprouts on the nose. David did not find much to appreciate, calling it an "empty glass", while Ali said, "cranberry, cinnamon and holiday spices. I get warm." Gary felt that "you could throw bacon in this and it would make it better". Totally different in mouth, with a chalky, tannic, very drying, mouthfeel. Cranberry and asparagus flavors. Ali later noted "menthol, eucalyptus, ...or something when you're sick." Received 2 points. Devienna's bottle. About $54.
Domaine Monpertuis Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2006. Funky, with sweat, cranberries, oil paints, lead paint, and roses. With aeration, tasters noted coffee with cream scents. Dry, but exhibiting tomato juice, tinfoil, bacon, envelope glue, lighter berry flavors, and tobacco on finish. Butterscotch and licorice notes emerge later. Received 1 point. Gary's bottle. About $52.