The holidays are always a
time of enjoying great wines and this year was no exception. I’ve selected
eight wines to recommend – all of which I tasted in the last month. I hope you have a chance to try some of them
and enjoy them as much as I have.
As much as I love Bordeaux, I have also enjoyed some excellent
Chateauneuf-Du-Papes’ and I will be headed back to France this spring to do some more
research on this region.
For New Years Eve we enjoyed
a wonderful bottle of 2004 Domaine Chante Cigale from the Chateauneuf-Du-Pape
region of France. These wines can be enjoyed young and this was
an excellent example of a great young wine that is soft, elegant and very
complex. It is full of spice and current
that dazzles your pallet and awakens new sensations. Everyone at our New Years Eve dinner loved
this wine and I highly recommend it.
I have often said that the
1997 vintage in Bordeaux was terrible and I have only tasted one wine that was worth serving from that
vintage. Well, now I’ll change that to
two wines. As I’ve written here before,
the ’97 Chateau Pape Clement is an amazing wine that is deep, dense and
complex. It is a wonderful wine with one
major drawback – and typical of the vintage –a lack of staying power. The wine is awesome on your pallet but it
doesn’t last. Great wines will linger on
your pallet and you will even be remembering the taste the next day. With the ‘97’s they do not do this.
The lack of staying power is
also evident on the other great wine I tasted from that vintage, the ’97
Chateau Leoville Barton. This, again is
a powerhouse wine that is elegant and complex. It shows black berries, current and barnyard on your pallet that you
don’t want to ever end. But it does end,
and quickly which is too bad for such a great wine.
1995 is a much better vintage
than 1997 and I recently opened a ’95 Chateau Des Carabins from Margaux. It is balanced and smooth with good dense
fruit that spreads across your pallet. I
don’t think the ‘95’s have reached their peak yet so I’m holding on to the rest
of my wines from that vintage for at least another year or two in hopes of even
greater things to come.
1996 was also a great year in
the Chateau Lanessan from the Haut-Medoc is a wonderful wine that is drinking
very well now. This wine was more earthy
than fruit driven and has a wonderful and surprising aftertaste that lingered
long after we had finished the wine. It
is a beautiful Bordeaux
that you can drink now or keep for several more years.
From the same ’96 vintage
comes one of my most favorite wines, the Chateau Duhart-Milon. We had this for dinner last night and I was
again impressed by what a wonderful wine this is. The nose had traditional barnyard, and the
pallet is complex with earth, berries and black current. This is an amazingly wonderful wine that is
everything great about Bordeaux.
1999 is typically regarded as
a good, not great vintage, and these wines are ready to be drunk now. With that in mind I opened a 1999 La Fleur
Peyrabon, which had been given to me as a gift several years ago. I was blown away. I was struck immediately by the dense, dark
purple color of the wine. The aroma
filled the decanter – and then the glass – and was immediately enticing. On the pallet is was rich and complex with the
perfect balance of black cherry, licorice, wet hay, oak and smoke. It was an amazing wine the lingered on and
on. A true “wow” of a wine, I highly
The final wine I’ll recommend
this month is the 2002 Chateau Siran. I
had this wine shipped back from France a couple of years ago and didn’t think
much of it when I opened it upon arrival. The wine has matured and is simply stunning. It shows great depth and
complexity and lingers on your pallet.