Can 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 again.

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. 

'96 Bois de Boursan1996 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 Benoit1998 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, NY

Les Cailloux1999 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.

Imported by Robert Kacher Selections, Washington, D.C.

By Bastardo

1996 Domaine Bois de Boursan Châteauneuf du Pape

1998 Caves des Papes Châteauneuf du Pape Les Closiers

1998 Domaine Saint Benoit Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée de Grande Garde

1999 Les Cailloux Châteauneuf du Pape

2000 Domaine du Pegau Châteauneuf du Pape

2000 Paul Jaboulet Aine Châteauneuf du Pape Les Cedres

1999 Bosquet des Papes Châteauneuf du Pape

1988 Chateau Mont-Redon Châteauneuf du Pape

Part 2

1999 Caves des Papes Gigondas Oratorio

1999 Monterius Gigondas

1999 Domaine “La Fourmone” Vacqueyras Sélection Maître de Chais

1997 Domaine des Amouriers Vacqueyras

2001 Domaine la Monardière Vacqueyras Les Calades

1998 La Quintessence du Château Pesquié Cotes du Ventoux

2000 Domaine Chaume-Arnaud Côtes du Rhône Villages Vinsobres

2000 Domaine de l’Espigouette Côtes du Rhône

2000 Domaine du Vieux Chêne Côtes du Rhône Cuvée de la Haie aux Grives


Underground Index

Wine Probation © Defined

The Drawing of the Threes

  A Chat with J.C. Mathes of J et R Selections  

More Red Wings & 
Red Rhones '02-'03

Red Wings & Red 
Rhones '02-'03

  More Lucky Languedocs

  10 New Italian Reds

  Playoff Diary '02
Welcome Home Stanley!!!

  Playoff Diary '02
Round 3

  Playoff Diary '02
Round 2

Seven Lucky Languedocs

  Playoff Diary '02
Round 1

  Côtes du Rhône-down 2002

  Red Wings & Red Rhones 2002

Red Wings & Red Rhones 01-02

  A Dandy Rhône and a Night at the Joe

2000 Domaine du Pegau Châteauneuf du Pape
, $34, 13.5% alc.: As good as the Les Cailloux is, this one’s even better (IMNSHO).  Dark garnet, with a deeper, muskier, more herbaceous nose, this has a wonderful earthy plum and black currant character, accented with a little licorice and dark chocolate.  It’s even more accessible than the Les Cailloux, and yet that pretty signature Pegau perfume lurks in the background, giving little hints of things to come.  Tannins?  Yes, but this is so tasty already, with good acidity and a long finish.  Again, one to put down ‘til at least its 10th birthday, so why do I want to open another one tonight?  

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.

Imported by Frederick Wildman and Sons, Ltd., New York, NY

Bosquet des Papes1999 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.  

Imported by 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.  

On to Part 2

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