Bosquet des Papes Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Chante Le Merle 1998
Bright dark red. Reticent but lively aromas of black raspberry and blackberry syrup. Thick, powerful and seamless, but brighter and more delineated than the estate other '98s. Very expressive, superripe flavors of plum, nuts, game and animal fur. Huge, expanding finish features big, ripe, firm tannins that saturate the teeth and palate. Classic, superripe, in-your-face Chateauneuf du Pape. Boiron said that the point of using some new oak in '99 was to slightly sweeten the tannins of this prestige cuvee.
The star of the show from Bosquet des Papes was the 1998 Chateauneuf du Pape Chante le Merle Vieilles Vignes. Fully mature, it reveals impressive notes of roasted garrigue, lots of cured meats, licorice and coffee bean notes to go with a ripe, full-bodied, textured feel on the palate. It has an old-school feel, yet is neither overtly rustic nor astringent. Drink it over the coming 4-5 years. The blend here is 80% Grenache and 10% each of Syrah and Mourvedre, all of which was aged in foudre and demi-muids.
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One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes...
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.
In the Glass
When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.
Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based sauces.
Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.