What a fabulous experience tonight, so much so that I changed my planned blog for this week!
Marquis Wine Cellars, Vancouver’s premier private wine store, sent out an invite last week announcing the Thomas Perrin, the head of the legendary Chateauneuf du Pape producer Chateau de Beaucastel, was going to be in town and would be hosting a tasting of some of his wines. From the original message, it didn’t look like that big a deal – but with Beaucastel being my favourite wine, I arranged my work schedule to attend.
Before I go further, a few words about Perrin and Beaucastel for those not familiar with them. I won’t try and repeat the accolades lauded on them from the likes of Robert Parker, the Wine Spectator, etc. Arguably, they are the greatest Chateauneuf du Pape producer in the world, and one of the leading Rhone wine negotiants (making Gigondas, Vacqueyras and other fabulous wines). Their regular Chateauneuf du Pape is one of the few that uses all 13 allowed grape varieties, and it regularly gets scores of 90+ points. The reserve wine – the Hommage de Jacques Perrin, named after the legendary proprietor – is generally accepted as one of the greatest red wines in the world, often rated at 100 points and costing over $400 a bottle.
I have only tasted the Hommage once (at the Vancouver International Wine Festival; it was almost a religious experience), but have had the chance to collect and drink many vintages of the regular Chateauneuf du Pape, mainly by buying them in half bottles in Calgary at ridiculously low prices. They are stunning examples of Chateauneuf du Pape, capable of lasting 15 – 20 years in good vintages.
So that’s the set up for the tasting…why I went, regardless of what it was going to be like.
Then I walk in, and…there were 10 different wines to taste, including 8 vintages of Chateauneuf du Pape and one of the Hommage! Most of the older bottles were brought by Monsieur Perrin.
I was stunned…the quantity, quality, and hospitality…and it was FREE!!!
Below are my tweet reviews of the wines:
2010 Perrin Cotes du Rhone Villages – “50/50 blend of Syrah and Grenache, the former dominates with ripe black cherries, pepper, earth, no wood. Good deal for $21.”
2010 Coudoulet de Beaucastel Cotes du Rhone – “A serious wine! Similar blend to the Chateauneuf (mostly Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre/Carignan): really taste the Mourvedre with its earthiness. Tannic; years away, 5+”.
1995 Chateauneuf du Pape – “Still seems young! Medium red, garrigue on the nose, classic Grenache dried cherry fruit, still firm tannins. Still 5 years in it.”
1998 Chateauneuf du Pape – “Looks older/tastes more mature than the 1995. Still tannic, but fruit is drier/more mellow. Drink now after decanting for 30 minutes.”
2005 Chateauneuf du Pape – “Maybe a bit riper than the ’06, but same Grenache fruit. Tannins still there, and another 5+ year wine.”
2006 Chateauneuf du Pape – “With the ’05, maybe the best of the older wines? Good colour, garrigue, dried cherries, earth, pepper, tannin; still 5+ years.”
2008 Chateauneuf du Pape – “Surprisingly young and ripe¸ sweet (ripe) cherries. Quite tannic – 8 – 10 years?”
2009 Chateauneuf du Pape – “Best wine of the night? Super, super ripe dark cherry fruit, very tannic still, but lots years left in it.”
2010 Chateauneuf du Pape – “So young it is hard to judge; really tannic, but a core of ripe dark fruit underneath. 15+ years?”
2011 Chateauneuf du Pape – “Can you taste the vintage? Less sun, more rain…and the grapes don’t seem as ripe.”
2011 Chateauneuf du Pape Hommage de Jacques Perrin – “Even the Hommage can’t escape the vintage ! Unbelievable nose, and the fruit is ripe, but it is lighter than you would expect.”
There you have it – an unbelievable evening! Thanks and kudos to both Marquis Wine Cellars and Thomas Perrin!