Monday, August 13, 2012

2010 Chateauneuf du Pape - First Wine Blogger Tasting at MacArthur Beverages in Washington DC, USA

Pictures: Phil Bernstein with David White (above) and Christian G.E. Schiller (below). David White is a finalist in the 2012 Win Blog Awards, see: The Finalists in the 2012 Wine Blog Awards

Phil Bernstein had invited to the First MacArthur Beverages Wine Blogger Tasting on Thursday, August 9th in their store on MacArthur Boulevard in Washington DC and about a dozen or so wine bloggers from the Washington DC area came. Phil poured 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape.

Picture: MacArthur Beverages

Phil Bernstein is a regular at the German Wine Society (DC Chapter). He joins us usually in the spring to present to us his new German wines. His events are always very exciting and very popular.For more, see: Phil Bernstein’s Third Annual German Riesling Tasting with the German Wine Society, Washington DC Chapter - Rieslings With a Touch of Sweetness

Washington DC Wine Bloggers

Here is a list of the wine bloggers that had accepted Phil’s invitation. Some have already written about the event and I am including links to the postings

Paul DeRose of Wine Outpost

Isaac James Baker of  Reading, Writing & Wine - Tasting Report: 2010 Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Frank Morgan of Drink What You Like @drinkwhatulike

David White of Terroirist Blog @terroiristblog

Aaron Nix-Gomez of Hogshead - Tasting 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape at MacArthur Beverages

Scott A. Claffee of Terroirist Blog

Sarah Hexter of Terroirist Blog

John Brooks of TheWineO

Joon Song of Vinicultured: A Wine Blog

Todd M. Godbout of Wine Compass Blog

Dezel Quillen of MyVineSpot

Christian G.E. Schiller of schiller-wine @schillerwein


Chateauneuf-du-Pape is one of the most famous wine regions in the world, situated in the southern Rhone Valley in France.

The New Castle of the Pope - In 1308, Pope Clement V, former Archbishop of Bordeaux, relocated the papacy from Italy to the city of Avignon, France. Seven Popes resided in Avignon before the papacy returned to Italy. A little town, not too far away from Avignon, where the Pope’s summer palace was constructed, was called Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It is a cute little town, dominated by the towering ruins of the Papal summer palace. The town’s narrow streets of golden medieval houses, with their red tile roofs and pastel shutters, wind down into the vineyards.

Pictures: At the Tasting

The wines grow on a soil that is a mixture of large quartz stones (galet roules) and sandy red clay. The galets roules reflect sunlight upon the vines, having a warming effect. A wind - the Mistral - whips up through the Rhone valley from the Mediterranean Sea and has a cooling effect, but the region is nonetheless quite warm and very dry.

With more than 8,000 acres under vine, Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the largest appellation in the Rhône, producing mainly a red Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Today, there are 60 to 70 wine estates. Chateauneuf du Pape, was the first region to gain AC status in France (in 1923).

Unlike its northern Rhône neighbors, Châteauneuf-du-Pape permits thirteen different varieties of grape; the blend is usually predominantly Grenache. In recent years, the trend has been to include fewer - or even none - of the allowed white varieties and rely heavily - or solely - upon the Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah.

Although the French appellation system has its roots in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the wines never achieved the prestige enjoyed by the wines of Burgundy and Bordeaux. That changed, when wine critic Robert M. Parker Jr. fell in love with them. His influence pushed up their price considerably. While the French drink about two thirds of the Bordeaux they produce themselves, most of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines are exported, a large part to the US.

Winemaking styles of the Chateauneuf-du-Pape wines range from easy-to-understand fruit-filled wines to wines of greater intensity and gravitas, which can be powerful, full-bodied and concentrated.


Grenache is one of the most widely planted red wine grape varieties in the world. It ripens late and thus needs hot, dry conditions such as those found in Spain and the south of France.

Pictures: At the Tasting

It is generally spicy, berry-flavored and soft on the palate and tends to lack acid, tannin and color. It is usually blended with other varieties. Grenache is the dominant variety in most Southern Rhône wines, especially in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Grenache is also used to make rosé wines in France and Spain, notably those of the Tavel district in the Côtes du Rhône. And the high sugar levels of Grenache have led to extensive use in fortified wines, including the Banyuls in Roussillon.

The Wines Phil Poured

Pierre Usseglio Chateauneuf du Pape $34.99

This is electric, with charged-up, vivid blueberry, fig, blackberry and boysenberry fruit all drenched in pastis and toasted spice and backed by a licorice snap note that lets the finish flow on beautifully. Approachable, but no need to hurry either. (93 Pts. Wine Spectator, James Molesworth)

Brotte Chateauneuf du Pape V.V. $34.99

The 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes is mostly Grenache blended with a dollop of Syrah, all planted in 1964. It offers licorice, fig, black currant, incense, kirsch, new saddle leather and meaty characteristics. Full-bodied, dense and more supple and silky textured than the Cuvee Prestige, it, too, should drink well for two decades. (92-94 pts., Robert Parker)

Domaine la Bastide Saint Dominique Chateauneuf du Pape Secrets de Pignan Vieilles Vignes $49.99

The dense purple-colored 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape Secrets de Pignan Vieilles Vignes possesses sensational concentration as well as extraordinary intensity of blackberry, black cherry and raspberry fruit intermixed with incense, licorice and ink. Full-bodied with stunning texture and purity as well as good precision/delineation, it will benefit from 3-4 years of cellaring and should drink well for two decades thereafter. (94-96 pts. Robert Parker)

Vieux Donjon Chateauneuf du Pape $49.99

A brilliant effort that ranks alongside the 2007, the 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape boasts abundant notes of black cherry liqueur interwoven with black currant, blueberry, spring flower, roasted herb, licorice, pepper and bouquet garni characteristics. Full-bodied with good acidity, terrific purity, a fleshy mouthfeel and a long finish, it should be even better in 4-5 years and last for two decades or more. (93-95 pts. Robert Parker)

Grand Veneur Chateauneuf du Pape “Les Origines” $52.99

The 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Origines is nearly off the charts in terms of concentration. It is a less sexy, flamboyant effort compared to the 2009, but it is noble, reserved and pure with plenty of black and blue fruit notes intermixed with subtle garrigue, graphite and spice box characteristics. Full and rich with high tannins, good acidity and a style built for the long term, this 2010 will benefit from 4-5 years of cellaring, and keep for at least 20-25 years. (94-96 pts. , Robert Parker)

The pictures of the wine bottle labels are courtesy of hogshead.

schiller-wine: Related Postings

Phil Bernstein’s Third Annual German Riesling Tasting with the German Wine Society, Washington DC Chapter - Rieslings With a Touch of Sweetness

The Doctor Made a House Call - A Tasting with Ernst Loosen, Weingut Dr. Loosen, at MacArthur Beverages in Washington DC, USA

DC Food Bloggers Happy Hour at Taberna del Alabardero in Washington DC, US

#Winechat at Capital Grille in Washington DC with Fellow Wine Bloggers and Virginia Wine Producers, USA 

The Wines of Domaine de la Solitude, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, France

“Wine Ambassador” Klaus Wittauer Presented Austrian Wines at the Embassy of Austria in Washington DC, USA

Tasting with Alfred Tesseron the last 10 Vintages of Château Pontet-Canet in Washington DC, USA/France

A Glass of Bordeaux – What Else? – With Wine Journalist Panos Kakaviatos

Bordeaux Wines and their Classifications: The Basics

In the Wine Capital of the World: the City of Bordeaux, France

Celebrating Paso Robles Wines and Classic American Cuisine - Winemaker Dinner at Jose Andres’ America Eats Tavern in Washington DC with 4 Paso Robles Winemakers, USA

Meeting a Rhone Ranger and Tasting His Wines - Sherman Thacher from Paso Robles in California

Richard Branson Presenting Wines from Cass Vineyards and Winery at Screwtop Wine Bar in Virginia?

Visiting Sherman Thacher and his Thacher Winery in Paso Robles, California

Tablas Creek Wines from Paso Robles and Belgian Food at Brasserie Beck with Tablas Greek GM Jason Haas and Chef Robert Wiedmaier in Washington DC, USA

Henri Lurton and his Chateau Brane Cantenac Wines

Tour de France de Vin: 6 Days, 7 Regions, 3500 km - In 6 Days through 7 Wine Regions of France

The 5 Premiers Grands Crus Chateaux en 1855 of Bordeaux, France

Tasting the Wines of Chateau Lafon-Rochet, Saint-Estèphe, 4ème Cru Classé en 1855, with Owner Basil Tesseron at the French Embassy in Washington DC, USA/France

The Finalists in the 2012 Wine Blog Awards

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