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Seeking advice on Chateauneuf-du-Pape

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I would like to start exploring the world of CdP, but I live in a fairly small city, on an island, and the selection available to me is fairly limited.

I went into the liquor store in my city that has the biggest selection of CdP and wrote down the names of some wines that were within my budget. I am wondering if anyone here can comment on the following wines and make some recommendations. Also, I am wondering about the "cellar-ability" of the following wines:

1) Cuvee du Vatican CdP 2004

2) Domaine de Christia CdP 2004

3) Chateau de La Gardine CdP 2005

4) Guigal CdP 2003

5) Chateau La Nerthe CdP 2003

6) Les Clefs D'or CdP 2004

7) Domaine Chante-Perdrix CdP 2004

8) De Vieux Lazaret CdP 2006

Of course, I could look at Wine Spectator, Wine Advocate, etc...for reviews, but I would love to hear the feedback of this knowledgeable chowhounds group.

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  1. For starting out, focus exclusively on the best wines you can afford from the following vintages: 1998, 2000, 2001, 2005. I'd really put blinders on and focus on those.

    The 2005's are very very young, so that really leaves 98, 2000, and 2001. Failing to find these there are good wines from 2003 as well, but a more uneven vintage, IMO. I'd avoid 2004 and especially 2002.

    Also, from my own initiation to red rhones I started (randomly) with northern rhones and really liked them from the get-go. They're a little more singular and focused flavor of nearly pure syrah vs. the more blended southern rhones. Recent vintages have been more uneven in the north than south, but 2003 was exceptionally nice in the north. So ask your wine vendor(s) what they might have in a 2003 Hermitage, for example.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Chicago Mike

      Thanks, Mike.

      Like I said, though, I'm willing to cellar these wines, so a young wine that is not ready to drink does not bother me.

      1. re: Chicago Mike

        You're the first I've heard say 2003 was better than 2004. The only year I've been told to avoid was 2002.

        1. re: vanillagorilla

          you're doing your research and asking questions, and that's what counts.

      2. The 03's are drinking well now, and since it was such an overthetop hot vintage, will not live as long. The 05's are not ready to drink yet... the reds, that is.

        Chateau La Nerthe and La Gardine are the most "famous" wines on your list. They should be good investments, as well as the Chante Perdrix. I would say, actually, that you can't go wrong with any of the 05's. They are saying it may well be the best year EVER in CduP, and any will turn out to be a bargain in the long run (except probably Clos des Papes, which has gone up to around $250 a bottle since it was named Wine Spectator's Wine of the Year!).

        1 Reply
        1. re: ChefJune

          Thank you, June.

        2. It'll help if you add to your list the prices this bottles retail for in your town.

          1 Reply
          1. re: RicRios

            It appears the OP and I reside in the same Canadian Province (BC). Now that the government has allowed private retail liquor somewhat, the prices do vary between private and government run stores.

            The price ranges on the above wines are as follows (Be warned, booze is heavily taxed here, but it is a trade-off for the free healthcare we are provided)

            1) Cuvee du Vatican CdP 2004 ---------- $50 - 55

            2) Domaine de Christia CdP 2004 ------- $50 - 55

            3) Chateau de La Gardine CdP 2005 ------ $50 - 55

            4) Guigal CdP 2003 ------ $60 - $70

            5) Chateau La Nerthe CdP 2003 ------------ $65 - 75

            6) Les Clefs D'or CdP 2004 --------------$38 - 45

            7) Domaine Chante-Perdrix CdP 2004 -------- $42-50

            8) De Vieux Lazaret CdP 2006 ?????

            To get you started, and to get a pseudo-vertical going, I would reco the '04 Clefs D'or and either of the '03 ones you listed.

            For a 2005, I would strongly suggest searching for Le Vieux Donjon. Fantastic producer and the price has stayed in the $55 -65 range for several vintages, while others (I remember La Gardine at $27 a few years ago) have soared.

          2. I know this thread is regarding Cdp. I am buying 2005 Cotes du Rhone Chateau Mont-Redon Beille-Fabre. The vineyards are is located at Roquemaure, just across the river from Cdp. The winery makes mostly Cdp including a large amount of white Cdp. The 2005 is drinking very nicely right now, especially at $9.00 per bottle wholesale. It sells at the winery for 6.60 euros. I ordered four more cases while it is still available. Nice poorman's Cdp.

            1. anewton, I've had some delicious Cotes du Rhone from '04, and haven't cracked open any Chateauneufs yet from that vintage. If the price looks good on a wine with the pedigree of Chante-Perdrix(some large on-line outlets sold the '05 out in the $25-30 range) I wouldn't hesitate. Right now the only difference I'm certain of between '04 and '05 is a healthy price jump for many nice French reds--sometimes the qualities I prefer like balance and subtlety get compromised in the 'fat' vintages.

              3 Replies
              1. re: moto

                Thank you, Moto. I had read that the 04 vintage was generally pretty good but not as stellar as 05. However, I take it that there are savings to be had with the 04 vintage because it is not as heralded as the 05.

                FWIW, I went to a Bordeaux 04 tasting last year and really enjoyed some of the wines, despite the fact that 03 and 05 in Bordeaux were much more heavily hyped (good savings to be found with 04 Bordeaux purchases).

                1. re: anewton

                  You are absolutely right, anewton! the 04's are the "sleepers... and while they may not age as long as the 05's, they are going to be delicious, and a darn sight less expensive than the 05's as well. I have several on order.

                  1. re: ChefJune

                    Anewton, please don't "put blinders on" when trying to explore wines, as was suggested to you. The beautiful thing about wine is that it is diverse and never static. The best way to get to know a particular type of wine is to explore the wine from several vintages and both the "top" and less well known producers. Hyped vintages and famous producers are certainly lauded for a reason, however you can really get to know the soul of a wine and a region by tasting around from the more average vintages and smaller producers. Especially now, quality winemaking has never been so common in the southern Rhone, and it is a shame to overlook top quality wines from producers that are just not famous. You can also think of it as seeing your dinner date from last week sans makeup and chic dress, getting the grocery shopping done.

                    That said, try some of the estate's "normale" cuvees from these producers, and experience "real" CdP:

                    Domaine Monpertius 2004
                    Domaine de Marcoux 2004 or 2005
                    Domaine Paul Autard 2004 (is just beautiful)

                    If you can find them, enjoy!

              2. Where on the Island are you, BTW? Did you go to a private store or BCLiquor?

                1 Reply
                1. re: newJJD

                  Victoria. Went to the Fort and Foul Bay "Signature Store."