the 2002-03 NHL season be over all ready?!
It seems like it was just yesterday that
the Detroit Red Wings
were kicking off the season in San Jose.
Ah well, it seems that way every April over the last several years, as Round
1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is set to begin once
After a less than stellar
stretch in January, the Wings got hot and they stayed hot, going 21-3-1-2,
to win the Central Division crown in the Western Conference,
falling just one point short of the Dallas Stars for the conference
title. Add to that the long awaited return of Captain
Steve Yzerman from a knee “realignment,” Brett
Hull’s 700th goal and a reasonably healthy roster, and the
attitude heading into the playoffs is very positive.
And of course, during that
time, we uncorked some excellent Red Rhône Mojo
to do our part in keeping the Stanley Cup right where it belongs.
Here’s the Rhône-down.
Domaine Bois de Boursan Châteauneuf du Pape, $19.50, 13.5% alc.: While
this producer is becoming a real favorite
at our house, we had yet to try this particular vintage, but we
certainly weren’t disappointed. Dark garnet, with nary a hint of
brick, it’s all about gorgeous blackberry and plum, lavender and leather,
smoke and garrigue, on both the palate and the nose. There are still
some tannins to resolve, with good acidity and a lingering finish that
should lengthen as it continues to mellow, but to tell the truth, it’s
hard to keep the hands off of this now. The garrigue really comes out
with air in this, and if you have any patience, it should improve for at
least the next few years. As always, this is some serious QPR where
fine Châteauneuf du Pape is concerned.
Imported by J
et R Selections LTD., Mount Pleasant, MI.
1998 Caves des Papes Châteauneuf
du Pape Les Closiers, $21.99, 14% alc.: Here is a ruby dark garnet
colored Châteauneuf that features a nice, if not overly effusive bouquet of
earthy black currant, plum and black cherry with floral, smoky overtones.
These follow through on the palate with even more earthiness, significant
tannins good acidity and a decent finish that should lengthen as it ages.
Approachable with a few hours in a decanter, this is a solid southern Rhône
that should be coming into its own sometime around its 10th birthday.
Imported by Cannon Wines Ltd.,
San Francisco, CA
Domaine Saint Benoit Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée de Grande Garde,
$26.99, 13.5% alc.: This dark garnet beauty is even better than we remember
it being about a
year and a half ago, with its rich, robust smoky plum, blackberry, prune
and leather character that’s accented with a little tar and a nice hint of
Brasso ®. It’s even smoother and more approachable than it was at
the beginning of last season, despite at least 3-5 years' worth of tannins; the
acidity is perfectly balanced and the finish is long and pleasurable.
Dumb phase? Shutting down?! Not this baby, and the best part is
that it’ll just get better. The 25% discount off the price listed
didn’t hurt either…
An Eric Solomon
European Cellars Selection; Imported by European Cellars Direct, New York,
Les Cailloux Châteauneuf du Pape, $26.99, 14% alc.: Ruby dark garnet,
with smoky black currant, blackberry, black cherry flavors and aromas shaded
with a little leather and tar, this is one big mouthful of rich, dense,
powerful wine, with a good dose of tannins and a nice long finish.
Yes, it’s really too young, but it’s still showing a lot of tasty fruit
with a few hours of air, and we had no problems savoring it throughout the
evening. A 10-year wine, no sweat.
Robert Kacher Selections, Washington, D.C.
Imported by J
et R Selections, Mount Pleasant, MI
2000 Paul Jaboulet Aine Châteauneuf
du Pape Les Cedres ®, $26.99, 14% alc.: The soft smoke, berry and plum
bouquet doesn’t exactly jump out of the glass at first, but the flavors
really pick things up nicely, with good concentration and intensity, and a
subtle floral note adds to the appeal. The nose comes around more with
some swirlatude, as nice notes of chocolate and nutmeg emerge with air, and
this just gets better and better as it opens. It may not be quite as
powerful as the previous two noted here, but it still has the structure to
improve through 2010 and beyond.
Frederick Wildman and Sons, Ltd., New York, NY
Bosquet des Papes Châteauneuf du Pape, $23.99, 13.5% alc.: There’s a
slightly smoky tinge to the dark garnet color of this beauty, and there’s
a good whiff of smoke on the nose as well, accenting the cola and plum
bouquet. These follow through on the palate in a big way, some added
blackberry and garrigue, and some spicy nutmeg-cinnamon and coffee emerges
with air. The tannins are surprisingly soft, finally making their
presence known on the finish by reining the length somewhat, and it has just
the right balance of acidity. This is a big tasty mouthful of Châteauneuf
that’s a pleasure to sip and savor already, but its best days are
obviously ahead of it.
Julienne Importing Company, Chicago, IL
1988 Chateau Mont-Redon Châteauneuf du Pape, $18.99, 13.4% alc.: Shar Douglas opened this slightly rusty dark garnet chestnut for us; it had been resting in her cellar for about ten years, and the time had come to see what it had to offer. It’s showing nice flavors and aromas of smoky plum, prune, garrigue and a little sea air and aquarium as it opens. There’s still some soft tannins, good acidity and a nice finish, making for a smooth CdP that’s drinking well right now and for at least the next few years, and it’s an excellent match for grilled turkey.