Friday, April 30, 2010
Here we go again. Just when I had practically given up on Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Enoch pulls out this basic ’99 CdP from E. Guigal. Oh, from the first whiff I was sold – the rusty metal meets juicy blood, slight gaminess inviting of meat, a touch of “bloody mary” spice, tart medley of berries with a silky and by no means thick texture. Gone the jamminess of a young CdP, this 11 year old revealed layer after layer of complexity for the entire 3 hours of the meal making me zone out the happenings of a bustling restaurant. Secondary flavors coming together like an orchestra, the fruit was still fresh and juicy but not fruity, the wine at its peak. Perfect with lamb shank, I had to order seconds just to continue reveling in the wine. The much respected ’99 Joseph Phelps Insignia came next in all of its soft and super-juicy California glory, but my hand reached for more Guigal again and again, until the last drop oozed from the bottle, sediment and all, and longingly I continued sniffing phantom vapors from the bottom of my glass. I’d eschewed critically-acclaimed Chateauneufs from legendary 1998 and 2007 vintages, prestigious cuvees costing hundreds of dollars, and yet this $40 entry-level CdP from Guigal with osso bucco was easily the most inspiring Southern Rhone I’d ever had. Not because it was a grand or fancy or sexy wine, but because it was a good good good honest wine - the kind of wine you are "going to marry" rather than have a one-night stand with (if that makes any sense to you). Holy smokes – what an evening on a cruise ship – afterwards I even sang karaoke and danced the night away, emboldened by the spell of the brilliant ’99 Guigal.
Posted by Iron Chevsky