Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Saint-Jean Chateauneuf du Pape 2007

You can get this wine at Costco now for 24$ (I think...if it's not 24$ it's somewhere around there). I mainly picked this wine up to compare with the Cotes du Rhone. I liked the Cotes du Rhone okay--it wasn't my favorite Cotes du Rhone, and stylistically, it's not particularly interesting, but at the same time, for 7$, it's a relatively good bargain. This CdP is definitely outside what I normally like (although I really like CdP), as it sports a 15% alcohol content. That's too much in my book. Of course, this wine is also from the much heralded 07 vintage. What's funny about 07 is that a year plus ago when the wines started to get released, there was a ton of buzz about it being the vintage of the century in the Rhone. Fast forward a year, and the majority of the chatter I hear is that the wines are monolithic, one-dimensional, hugely ripe, and well, Parkerized. Not generally being a fan of this style, I'm glad that I didn't load up on a lot of 07's. 
All this chatter and thought about the "Parkerized" style got me thinking about my tastes and when they started to evolve. I can't place an exact date on it, but I think it was when I started to realize that points were bullshit and I had my first serious wines from the Loire. I suppose part of it is that I'm predisposed to being a punk and a bit of a snob, so there's something that draws me to any line of "anti-authority" thinking. I view points, Parker, and the traditional wine media as the wine equivalent of Ronald Reagan--full of shit establishment motherfuckers that are fucking up the world. This frame of mind has at least been partially responsible for my wine tastes. The other "nail in the coffin" was a 130$ bottle of hugely extracted prune juice from Spain, which received a 96 from Robert Parker. Now don't get me wrong, there are some perfectly likable elements in this wine. Prior to the Acquilon, I hadn't had more than fleeting tastes of such highly rated wines, and frankly, I was curious to see what all the fuss was about. Is a 96 pointer any better than a 90 pointer? Or is it just all the people that can't think for themselves and Robert Parker who think so? I haven't had a lot of these wines--hell maybe some of them come off different (I'm sure some of them do), but after this one wine, I was basically done. In a moment of clarity a couple days after the fact, I realized that this was not what I liked in wine. I value style, substance, acidity, balance, interesting flavors, and weird obscure stuff. Not prune juice, oak, alcohol, hype, and bullshit--which were the primary ingredients of the Acquilon. Which brings me to this particular CdP...

On the nose it's a bit pruney, with some blackberry, blueberry, spice, heat, lavender, chocolate and vanilla notes that peek through. Once in your mouth, it's got a silky, silky, silky texture devoid of much acidity or crackle, lots of alcoholic heat and some mint on the finish. I'm sure some people will really like this wine. It's not as bad as the Acquilon (and you could have 6 bottles of this for the same price, so fuck it, why would you ever drink the Acquilon unless you were Scrooge McDuck and had a bathtub full of money?), and it also doesn't excite me like some of the superb CdP's that I've had from 04 and 06. The fact that 60% of this bottle is left on the counter tells me something about this wine, and that is, very simply, that I don't like it. Take my advice, if you want to try this estate, you might as well buy 3 bottles of the Cotes du Rhone, take your couple of dollars of change leftover, get a piece of pizza from Costco, and  get absolutely ripped. It will be a much better experience than drinking some of the CdP. D 

1 comment:

CabFrancoPhile said...

If Parker is going gaga over something, it's important to just put the bottle down and walk away. Probably the wine is structurally stacked--he is good at determining structure as long as acidity is not considered. But more importantly it will be high in alcohol, probably a bit roasted, and highly extracted. He may be right that these wines will evolve with age, but you cannot go backwards from pruney fruit to fresh fruit.