When you buy Chateauneuf du Pape part of what you pay for is the name. That is true of this wine which drinks like a wine a few dollars cheaper. But you won’t find a CdP at a better price and this one is good enough to provide an introduction to the region. When you buy CdP you also pay for garrique—that is its calling card. “Garrique” refers to the collection of herbs—thyme, rosemary, lavender, and juniper—that grow wild in the south of France, and permeate the atmosphere with their scent . The aromas of CdP remind you of that herbal concoction. Happily this wine has a muted hint of those aromas.
Cranberry and red raspberry aromas, the aforementioned herbs, which smell more of their twigs than their leaves, and a halo of fresh mushroom give this wine some typicity. It’s an excellent example of very ordinary Chateauneuf du Pape
The palate commences with some juiciness but lacks richness or depth. Steely mineral notes and acidity enter early and with peppery tannins squeeze out the fruit as the wine quickly shows its angular, austere side. With dried fruit and tobacco in a taut, sinewy shape it’s desperately hanging on to its sun-drenched honor. It’s a wine that yearns to be more and we want it to be more as well. Pleasant and unremarkable but it does capture what Chateauneuf du Pape is all about.
Pair with a song of yearning, a cry of desperation with guitars that crackle and spit. Like Neil Young’s Down By the River
Technical Notes: A blend of Grenache (60%) Mourvedre (15%) Cinsault (15%) and Syrah (10%) from a long-standing winery over 100 years old. I suspect this wine is primarily sold at Trader Joe’s since it is imported by Latitude, the company that supplies most of TJ’s European wines and is not shown on Caves St. Pierre’s website.
Price: $23 (Purchase at Trader Joe’s)