1990s Châteauneuf-du-Pape - March 20, 2024

Tonight's tasting was hosted by our treasurer, Mike. Here's some of tonight's summary notes. The name derives from the 14th Century when the "French Popes" relocated the papacy to Avignon (1309-1377). Pope Clement V was the first, and had previously planted vines in Bordeau (Château Pope-Clement). Pope John XXII built the chateau on the hill overlooking the Rhône Valley. The village and vineyards surround it. Vines hade been planted here long before that, possibly by the Romans. The French appellation system had its roots here, having been started by Baron Le Roy (Château Fortia), together with Joseph Capus, in 1923 to ensure the quality of Châteauneuf-de-pape wines. Eventually the system became law in 1936.

The appellation is small, with 7,746 acres planted, but there are over 300 growers. Almost 30% of these are certified organic by the EU. Thirteen varieties are allowed. In red wines, the most common are Grenanche, Syrah and Mourvèdre, with smaller quantites of Cinsault, Counoise, Muscardin, Terret Noir and Vaccarese. Some producers use all in their secret recipes. In white wines, which represent only about 7% of total production, Grenanche blanc, Roussanne, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Picpoul and Picardin are used. Grenache represents 75% of the vines, and is shapes the aromatics, textures, and flavors (blackberry, raspberry, pepper and spice). Mourvèdre is used for color, complexity, structure and resistance to oxidation. Syrah contributes color, ripe black fruit flavors and complexity.

Many of best vineyards (esp. north and northwest) are covered by galets roules, the large, rounded stones that slowly radiate heat in the evening. Towards the south of the village, there are fewer stones with gravel and decomposed rock mixed with clay and sand. The climate is sunny (>2700 hr/yr), hot and relatively dry (about 700 mm/yr). Mistral winds - cold and dry - blows off the Alps for about 100-150 days of the year.

Think of the evening as a Domaine-du-Pegau vertical, interspersed chronologically with some other producers.

Starter Blanc

2020 Château de la Pont du Loup


1992 Domaine-du-Pegau, Cuvée Réservée
1994 Domaine-du-Pegau, Cuvée Réservée
1995 Domaine de la Janasse, Cuvée Classique
1995 Domaine-du-Pegau, Cuvée Réservée
1995 Domaine de Beaurenard, Cuvée Boisrenard
1996 Domaine de Beaurenard, Cuvée Classique
1996 Château de Beaucastel
1996 Tardieu-Laurent
1996 Domaine-du-Pegau, Cuvée Réservée
1996 Château Pignan
1997 Domaine-du-Pegau, Cuvée Réservée
1998 Domaine Pierre Usseglio et Fils, Cuvée de Mon Aieul
1998 Domaine-du-Pegau, Cuvée Réservée
1999 Domaine-du-Pegau, Cuvée Réservée
2010 Domaine-du-Pegau, Cuvée Réservée


no dessert wine served

Images of Sampled Wines:

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