Friday, November 19, 2010

TN: Domaine La Roquète 2006 Chateauneuf du Pape

This one was just too good a deal to pass up. A Chateauneuf du Pape (CdP for short) from the Bruniers, who also own Kermit Lynch's favorite Chateauneuf du Pape Vieux Telegraph, for $20? Sold! I came across the Domaine La Roquète 2006 Chateauneuf du Pape at Cost Plus World Market, which I typically associate with middling mass market wines. While this is likely made in fairly large quantities, Chateauneuf du Pape is considered one of the premiere appellation in the Rhone Valley. This is not your typical Critter Label or branded "kitchen sink" blend.

While Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge is permitted to include about a dozen varieties, this is a blend of the three dominant Southern Rhone varieties Grenache Noir (70%), Syrah (20%) and Mourvèdre (10%). Probably the defining characteristic of this wine is "garrigue"--a sort of herbs de Provence aroma and flavor. Sure, this wine has fruit, body, oak and structure. But it's the dusty, mellow herbaceousness that gives the wine lift.

I've tasted from various Southern Rhone appellations, but this is my first Chateauneuf du Pape. I'm sure I'll be trying more, though finding a quality Chateauneuf du Pape at this price point is rare. Gigondas or Vayqueras often are closer to my favored $20 price point. At any rate, this was a nice find in a New World/Old World fusion mode. Chunky, large framed and clean, but with earthy complexity. Yum.
  • 2006 Frédéric & Daniel Brunier Châteauneuf-du-Pape Domaine La Roquète - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    Strawberry, blackcurrant, tar and garrigue aromas carry through onto palate. Big bodied rich wine with some oak. Med-low acidity. Does have some heat on finish, but eucalyptus is more dominant. Structured, should be aged. Love the French take on big wines as there's plenty of earthy depth to the rich fruit and oak.


Jeff said... have you never had a CdP before?

I'm going to have to check this one out if it's only 20$. I didn't even know the Bruniers had a second estate.

Just for your future consumption, Vieux Telegraphe is worth checking out (obviously), I really like Chateau La Nerthe, and I really like Usseglio too. Given your taste in wine, you should try to find 04's, 06's, and maybe 08's. The less ripe vintages are more interesting in my opinion, plus with a little age, they tend to have a lot of snap spice, and cedary characteristics.

Cabfrancophile said...

I guess I've been digging around more in the 'lesser' appellations to avoid the high prices of CdP. I don't want to pay $30-$40 to drink an ageworthy wine young ($20 is a different story), and I'm a bit concerned about the Parkerization of the region given the high prices and scores. $30+ for a boozy oak monster would be a disaster.

I have a 2nd bottle (don't I always, haha) to age. This wine was pretty big and rich. If '05 and '07 are even bigger, well, I guess that is good for collectors and critics.

This wine was imported by Diageo, which recently imploded as an importer. My guess is this is part of the fallout and World Market broke from its usual policy of mediocrity since this is a great value for $20.

Jeff said...

You have to pick carefully with CdP. However, I think that a lot of the wines, especially the regular cuvee's, can be drinking well 2 or 3 years after the vintage or so. Any 04 or 06 on the market right now is probably drinking pretty well.

I have to admit though, I have tired of CdP recently...probably due to the Parker effect. There are definitely a lot of high alcohol wines that are just a mess.

Didn't realize about Diageo (I guess I heard about it), I'll have to look out for more stuff that was in their portfolio.

Cabfrancophile said...

Apparently a lot of Diageo's imports were Bordeaux. A bunch of chateaus in an anti-free market act of collusion bought the wine back from Diageo to avoid the wines hitting the market at a lower price. Funny how unchecked capitalism is favored until the free market drives down prices, isn't it? Bordeaux only believes in a free market that ratchets in one direction--up!

Jeff said...

Now that you say that, I remember reading something about it. Bordeaux is freaking expensive! So that means that I generally don't buy it. It's too bad, because I have had some really interesting older (well, I guess teenage) Bordeaux. I had a 1997 Cos D'Estournel a couple of years ago; it was off the chain (crap vintage and all).

Cabfrancophile said...

Would be nice if Bdx (and Napa and Burgundy while we're at it) were cheaper. I know there are stunning, balanced wines available. But there are too many marketers like Parker and WS and too many middle men involved. I will be content knowing there are excellent wines for less, just not identical ones.

By the way, next time you are at Trader Joe's, look for their 2009 (!!!) CdP. You'd think there is some appellation rule wines must be in barrel or tank for at least a year. But I guess not!

Jeff said...

Already bought a bottle of the 09 to try. 9.99 was too tempting. The last CdP that they had was only a step above dishwater...but it was $20. Hopefully this one is better...I'm no expert, but there are quite a few CdP that don't spend time in oak--concrete tanks or steel instead. Some of them are made for early drinking...we'll see about this one. I have to crack a bottle in the next couple of days because they seem to be almost out and if it's good, I might as well grab a few and let them sit for a couple of years.

Bordeaux out to get rid of some of the middle-men...I think to some extent that's what K&L does. They buy direct from some Chateaus.

Cabfrancophile said...

I'm curious what you have to say on this CdP. I have feeling it may be entertaining, and not in a way that flatters the wine! TJ's does not have a good track record of finding diamonds in the rough from 'name' appellations. Or any appellations, really.

Jeff said...

No, they don't, although I've had a couple things recently that I thought were pretty decent for the price. I have to admit to a certain amount of fascination ripping on things like this. There are some people that say it's not bad on Cellartracker though.

I'm thinking it won't be that great...I was surprised that the Sancerre they have is actually drinkable. It's just not particularly good. The hard part for me is that there are no other 10$ Sancerre's that I've seen. So how do you compare that? It's drinkable, so I think in some circles, that makes it a win. But on the other hand, vs. other Sancerre, and even other SB, it's pretty mediocre.

Orb Poopsy said...

I've been following your blog for a couple of months now, and I flipped back a few months to read some of you older stuff and I stumbled upon this review.

I picked this wine up last week when I saw it on sale at World market for $20. I was just as surprised as you when I brought it home and popped it open. What a great value! I've had a couple CdPs lately that were twice the price and were very disjointed and not worth the price at all.

It was on sale this weekend for $15, so we went back and picked up half a case. I'm curious to see how these age over the next year or 3.

Edward said...

I came here to look for a review after bringing a bottle home yesterday that even my currently anemic income couldn't pass up. I'd looked longingly at it when World Market had it for $20, but now they're apparently dumping it at $10. I may need to float a loan to do it, but I think I'd better buy a few more.

BTW, I wouldn't dismiss World Market too quickly. Yeah, they've got a lot of bottles I'd be embarrassed to have anybody see on my rack, but I've found some real treasures over the last few years. I think it was Diageo that resurrected the "The Monterey Vineyard" label with an Arroyo Seco chard and a Santa Lucia Highlands pinot noir, both 07 vintages, both IMHO well worth the official release prices (23 and 26, I think), but WM sold them for 9 and 11 for a few months before finally dumping what they had left for around 7.

Actually, I'll be back at WM today for the bargain I missed, even better than a $10 chateauneuf. You see, what I do is to write down the labels and prices that look interesting and do my internet research at home, since what WM marks as the "regular list" price seems to be completely arbitrary. So anyway, I look up Clos du Val 07 Napa Valley Carneros Pinot Noir, which is on the WM shelf at $9.99. Right away I find it, with enthusiastic reviews and prices starting at $16.99. Then I do a double take--that's for 375ml! The regular-size bottles start at $33, but WM has them for 10.

I still prefer my favorite local wine shop, which also finds great values but provides so much service and education, but if WM's buyers keep in turning up bargains like these, they may get the rest of my business.

Cabfrancophile said...

Edward, I'll have to look for discounted Clos du Val at my local WM. I saw them before Christmas, but at $20 or $25.

I agree WM occasionally has nice deals. I do the same thing--takes notes, research, then buy on the next trip. That's exactly what I did with this Chateauneuf.

I think where I'm turned off by WM are the dozens of labels of California AVA wine with some cute or food-related theme. This is basic commodity wine, but it is trying to be differentiated by some gimmick.

Edward said...

Yeah, some of those make me wince, but only if I look at them, so I don't. The fact that they sell a lot of wine that doesn't appeal to me doesn't offend me, and I don't think it means that they are making a policy of mediocrity, especially when they are doing a better job than any of the other retailers (or discounters) of bringing in so many excellent wines I normally couldn't afford.