Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rouge 2004
Parcels of mixed varietals are vinified together in either ancient stone tanks, large wooden barrels or small barrels depending on the varietal content of each parcel.
The blend is famous for its use of the 13 permitted grape varieties in the area, with Grenache usually playing a dominant role.
This 2004 hails from a vintage remembered for its drought-like conditions up until August; it's slow to emerge from the soft, caramel notes of age, but rewards patience as it takes on a kaleidoscope array of flavors. The fruit comes up, gauzy but present, a delicate background for a hunger-inducing array of spices, herbs and umami flavors. It feels wonderfully organic, like forest floor and dried grasses, mushrooms and black cherries, ready now but also in no danger of fading over the next several years.