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[vineyard]Tasting notes from the Boston Wine Expo. Note the usual caveats about speed-tasting in boisterous environments, where mistakes are rampant and palate fatigue is a factor. These are brief impressions, not full examinations; the phraseology reflects these conditions.

Part 1: Châteauneuf-du-Pape

(All wines are red unless otherwise noted. Further, all 2006 reds are barrel, pre-bottling, or pre-release samples. For the previous year’s notes, look here.)

Michel “Le Vieux Donjon” 2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc (Rhône) – Beautiful. Nuts, stones, and spice. Richly fruited. A white-out of flavor. Long, with good acidity. Really excellent. (2/08)

Avril “Clos des Papes” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc (Rhône) – Malted. Twisted, gnarled bones and stones. Higher-toned, showing some anise-heavy licorice. Interesting and complex. (2/08)

Moulin-Tacussel 2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc (Rhône) – Banana skin, papaya, and pineapple. Simple and angular, with a medium-weight finish. (2/08)

Baron Le Roy de Boisenaumarié “Château Fortia” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc (Rhône) – Flat-fronted. Tropical fruit with crisp acidity. Closes quickly despite initial freshness. (2/08)

Pierre Usseglio 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhône) – Big and modern. Toughens on the finish. Peanuts and sticky fruit. This cuvée has, for me, turned an unpleasant corner of late. (2/08)

Pierre Usseglio 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Cuvée de mon Aïeul” (Rhône) – Spice, blueberries, flowers. Exciting and long. There’s “more” to this wine, and thus it handles its nods towards modernity better than the normale. (2/08)

Michel “Le Vieux Donjon” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhône) – Gorgeous. Full-throated. Meat and herbs. Very tannic now, but the balance is terrific, and this has massive potential. (2/08)

Moulin-Tacussel 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Tradition” (Rhône) – Medium-full, tannic, and juicy. Plummy, with good acidity. Tannic. This is better than usual, and in fact I thought this house did better in 2005 as well; are things changing here? (2/08)

Moulin-Tacussel 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Hommage à Henry Tacussel” (Rhône) – Chocolate, orange peel, and minerality. Thick and tannic. Far too dense to taste now, though based on the preliminary evidence I’m suspicious of the results. (2/08)

Boiron “Bosquet des Papes” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Cuvée Tradition” (Rhône) – Herbed bubblegum. Full and fruity, with a medium-length finish. Mostly balanced, though there’s a snippet of heat late in the game. Good. (2/08)

Boiron “Bosquet des Papes” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Chante le Merle Vieilles Vignes” (Rhône) – Big structure. Herbs, plum, lavender, bubblegum. Structured and balanced. Impressive. (2/08)

Olivier Hillaire 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhône) – Cylindrical. Metallic and a bit harsh, with alcohol showing throughout. (2/08)

Olivier Hillaire 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Les Petits Pieds d’Armand” (Rhône) – Peanut butter and jelly on toast. Very juicy fruit. Chocolate-covered cherries. Acid is prominent but well-integrated. Long finish. Upfront and promising, though not very traditional. (2/08)

Olivier Hillaire 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhône) – Walnut and sour dill. No good. (2/08)

Lafond “Roc-Epine” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhône) – Simple, lightly herbal. Rocks and structure. Closes quickly. Eh. (2/08)

Baron Le Roy de Boisenaumarié “Château Fortia” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Tradition” (Rhône) – Good balance, quite traditional. Herbs in a light brown tone. Fine tannin and acidity. Fun and pure, though not at the top level. (2/08)

Baron Le Roy de Boisenaumarié “Château Fortia” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Cuvée du Baron” (Rhône) – Pure. Red and pink fruit, bubblegum, with more structure (especially tannin) but less fun. Shaped like a diminuendo symbol. (2/08)

Baron Le Roy de Boisenaumarié “Château Fortia” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Réserve” (Rhône) – A syrah-dominated cuvée. Pepper dust, leather, and blueberry. Full and tannic. Very interesting, though it does stand out amongst grenache-heavy company. (2/08)

[cdp vine]Courtil-Thibaut “Clos des Brusquières” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhône) – Peanuts and bubblegum. Oddly synthetic. Very simple. (2/08)

Laget-Royer “Domaine Pontifical” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhône) – Lovely nose. Full and spicy. Structured. Under the enticement, however, there’s not a great deal of substance. (2/08)

Diffonty “Cuvée du Vatican” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhône) – Tight, over-structured, tough, and short. (2/08)

Diffonty “Cuvée du Vatican” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Réserve Sixtine” (Rhône) – Big and chocolate-infused. Too tannic. Biting chunks of structure. There’s some stuff underneath, I think, but it’s really far too early to tell for sure. Essentially, I think this is over-extracted. (2/08)

Mestre “Domaine de La Côte de l’Ange” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhône) – Medium-fruity. Plum, bubblegum, and thyme. Soft and almost pretty, perhaps even verging on fluff. It’s fun, though. (2/08)

Mestre “Domaine de La Côte de l’Ange” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Vieilles Vignes” (Rhône) – Fuller and more structured than the normale, but still balanced. Some sour peanuts on the finish. (2/08)

Chaussy “Mas de Boislauzon” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhône) – Thick and forward. Chocolate, fruit, herbs in the background. Dense and structured, but reasonably balanced. Turns linear on the finish. (2/08)

Chaussy “Mas de Boislauzon” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Quet” (Rhône) – Excellent balance in a warm, spicy, milk chocolate style, which not everyone will or should appreciate. There’s a bit of heat. This is very well done, but it would be difficult to call it CdP. (2/08)

Chaussy “Mas de Boislauzon” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Tintot Spécial Cuvée” (Rhône) – 100% old-vine mourvèdre. Earthy, big and lush. Mouthfilling. Dark and brooding, showing nuts and chocolate. Long and balanced. This has excellent aging potential.

Château La Nerthe 1999 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhône) – Dill and huge acidity. A gross perversion of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Yuck, yuck, yuck. (2/08)

Coulon “Boisrenard” 2004 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhône) – Thick with herbs (dominated by lavender and mint). Dense and solid – perhaps overly concentrated – with meat and garrigue ascendant. Good, but it would be better if it took its foot off the accelerator. (2/08)


Copyright © Thor Iverson.