Wednesday, October 23, 2019 — The 2007 vintage in the Southern Rhône was widely acclaimed at the time, especially by Robert Parker Jr. A very wet spring was followed by a hotter and dryer summer and autumn than the rest of France, leading to generally powerful wines. Berry Bros wrote “The resulting wines have an incredible depth of fruit, great color and are marked by tannins that are both supple and firm. In terms of recent vintages, 2007 combines the finesse of 2006 with the power of 2005…”. Wine Spectator summed it up thus: “[The] Best are hedonistic delights; though some are over-the-top”.
Hugh Johnson describes classic Châteauneuf-du-Pape as “wine of finesse, pedigree, suave tannins, floral wisps, with notes of cedar, Provençale herbs…” (and notes that some producers are now returning to this style). With a large number of producers in the appellation, there is a variety of styles and quality (HJ says puts it as 50 very good domaines and 80 that are inconsistent to poor). We have carefully selected the wines for this tasting.
Thirteen grapes are permitted in the red wines of this appellation as of 2007 (it was later increased), but Grenache is usually dominant, which can give the wines a big flavor profile with low acid and high alcohol (up to 16%); other grapes are blended in to add complexity. The best examples can age for a couple of decades.
This month’s tasting gives you a chance to see how this vintage has evolved. All our wines are fully mature and are from leading producers.
Leading the charge, we have Domaine La Millière. Jancis Robinson gave this wine 18 points, a high score for her, concluding her comment with “Good balance and a wine with a beginning, middle and end.” Following along we have Domaine La Roquete, which Jancis gives 17 pts, “… a more interesting wine than most”. The line up continues with Domaine de Cristia Renaissance, Domaine La Solitude and a pair of wines from Patrick Lesec. His Cuvée Bargeton earned 96 points from Robert Parker Jr, and we are also pouring Les Pierres Dorées. The two wines have a broadly similar élevage, but the Bargeton is completely destemmed while the Les Pierres Dorées, the larger production wine (1100 cases vs 550), is not. Completing the line up we have the Privilège cuvée from Domaine des 3 Cellier and Cuvée du Baron – Château Fortia. Wine Advocate notes follow.
There will, of course, be a mystery wine, about which all we will say is that it will be red, and may, or may not, relate to the featured wines. You can have fun trying to identify it.
So, indulge your inner hedonist and come and enjoy this great tasting!
2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Cuvée Bargeton – Patrick Lesec
The super-star of the Chateauneuf du Papes is the 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape Bargeton. Made from 80% tank-aged Grenache (nearly 100-year-old vines) and the rest barrel-aged Syrah and Mourvedre, this cuvee comes from the famed Galets Roules of the renowned sector of Chateauneuf du Pape called La Crau. A dense plum/purple color precedes notes of roasted herbs, licorice, smoked duck, soy, blackberries, cassis, and plums. Fabulously pure fruit, a full, layered texture, and a finish displaying exceptional intensity, purity, and length (50 seconds) suggest this superb Chateauneuf du Pape may be the finest effort Patrick Lesec has yet fashioned. It should drink well for 12-14 years.
96 Points Robert Parker Jr.
2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Pierres Dorées – Patrick Lesec
The 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Pierres Dorees is composed of 65% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, and 15% Syrah that spends time in used, 1- to 4-year-old Burgundy barrels. Only 10% of the blend is aged in steel. It also includes a lot of stems during fermentation, but that is certainly not noticeable in either the aromas or flavors. Its dense purple color is followed by a sweet, floral-dominated nose of incense, soy, licorice, black fruits, meat juices, and bouquet garni. Deep, full-bodied and powerful as well as silky-textured, layered, and long, this beautiful wine should evolve for 10-15 years.
94 Points Robert Parker Jr.
2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Vieille Vignes – Domaine La Millière
This reliable Chateauneuf du Pape producer has also fashioned two very fine cuvees of Cotes du Rhone. Both are admirable efforts displaying loads of red and black fruit, spice box, earth, and pepper notes. Sexy and seductive, they deliver all that wines from this category should. In fact, they over-deliver. Both are sleepers of the vintage. Enjoy them over the next 2-3 years.
Young proprietors Aime and Michel Arnaud continue to turn out forward, complex, seductive Chateauneuf du Papes.
88 Points Robert Parker Jr.
2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape – Domaine de la Solitude
A rocking base cuvee, the 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape offers a ripe, sexy, concentrated and full-bodied style to go with classic notes of fresh black fruits, roasted herbs and hints of crushed rocks. I love its mid-palate, and it’s going to keep for another 10-15 years.
93 points Jeb Dunnick
2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Renaissance – Domaine de Cristia
I find the 2007 vintage to be one of the most distinctive vintages in the past two decades, and Cristia’s 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape has the classic incense, lavender, flowers and spice characteristics of the vintage in spades. Full-bodied, decadent, layered and sexy, it’s one seriously hedonistic wine that has no hard edges, a full, ripe mid-palate, and a great finish.
92 points Jeb Dunnick
2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Privilège – Domaine des 3 Cellier
The 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape Privilège (40% Grenache and the rest 20% each of Mourvèdre, Syrah and Vaccarèse) is a sweetly fruited, sexy and nicely concentrated red that gives up lots of licorice, ripe black cherries, new leather and hints of iodine. Drink it over the coming 3-5 years.
88 points Jeb Dunnick
2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape – Domaine La Roquète
The finest tradition cuvee yet made, the 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape (70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre aged in foudre and concrete tanks) possesses a deep ruby/purple-tinged color as well as a bouquet of black currants, black cherries, garrigue, pepper, and lavender. It is a full-bodied, ripe, exceptionally elegant, pure wine to drink now or cellar for 12-15 years.
Shrewd connoisseurs of Chateauneuf du Pape should be paying attention to what is taking place at La Roquete. This property was acquired by the Brunier family (who also own Vieux Telegraphe) in the mid-eighties, and over the last 4-5 years, they have made successful efforts to upgrade the quality dramatically.
93 Points Robert Parker Jr.
2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Cuvée du Baron – Château Fortia (375 ml)
The light-medium ruby-colored 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee du Baron exhibits bubble gum-like, washed-out cherry and strawberry fruit, and hints of herbs and spice. Drink it up.
One of the most historically important estates of the appellation, Chateau Fortia has been making wines since the late 1700s. It is well-known in French winedom that the owner of this property, Baron Pierre Le Roy, first promulgated very strict regulations under which Chateauneuf du Pape could be produced, This doctrine became the founding principles of the entire French appellation system in 1936. Fortia produces three cuvees from their 70+ acres of vines.
85 Points Robert Parker Jr.
Date: Wednesday, October, 23th, 2019
Time: 6:45 p.m.
Limit: 66 people
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