2007 Maison Bouachon ‘La Tiare du Pape’ Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Mission Codename: Crowning Glory

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Secure an exclusive allocation of Mason Bouaachon’s newest Châteauneuf-du-Pape for our operatives

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Maison Bouachon

Wine Subject: 2007 La Tiare du Pape Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Winemaker: Christian Abry

Backgrounder: For the last two years, we have been fortunate to have showcased successive vintages of today’s wine. The wines were so well-loved, that we issued an annual Wine Spies Intrigue Award, making last years vintage our Operative’s Choice, Top International Selection. Today, we are proud to bring you the latest vintage, the fantastic Maison Bouachon 2007 La Tiare du Pape Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape (CDP) is among this spy’s favorite Rhone wines. With each wine being a distinct blend of up to 13 different varietals (usually lead off with Grenache, France’s work-horse grape, with the trend leading to more Syrah and Mourvedre based blends). The name Châteauneuf-du-Pape dates back to the 14th century during the time of the dual papacy.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape comes in two distinct styles, the more traditional ’Old World’ (like this one) are dark, rich and spicy with firm tannins that lend these wines to cellaring; and the more contemporary fruit-forward style more reminiscent of New World wines.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Deep garnet with a deepening heart of black cherry color. At the edges, the wine shows off fine ruby hues. When swirled, tall and ultra-skinny legs start high on the glass. To add intrigue, these legs disappear completely, and a second set of plump legs crawl their way down the glass – in a display that I have never witnessed.

Smell – Candied red cherry and raspberry leap from the glass. These are followed by soft spice, strawberry, leather, anise and blueberry tart. After some swirling, additional aromas of red flower petals, cedar and vanilla appear.

Feel – Medium-bodied on initial entry, weighty across the mid-palate and fleshy. After a moment, the wine seems to expand in the mouth as its fullness is felt across the entire palate. A soft dryness begins at the front of the mouth and works its way gradually backward.

Taste – Lush and darkly flavorful, with robust blackberry and smoky plum leading the way. These are accompanied, closely, by black cherry, cassis, supple leather, mineral black spice and soft oak.

Finish – Ultra-long and very flavorful, with all flavors tailing off evenly and smoothly. After a while, flavors dwindle and a soft mineral spice characteristic remains, with subtle hints of dark cherry and plum.

Conclusion – I had the great fortune to taste the past two vintages of this wine. While I loved the 2005 over the 2006, I enjoyed this wine – the 2007 La Tiare du Pape Châteauneuf-du-Pape – even more! With a slightly more robust character than past vintages, this wine shows off a more dark and dusky character. The wine is dynamic, from the visual intrigue presented by its unusual legs (see, look, above), to its layers of flavors and aromatics. Not as juicy as the 2005, this wine seems almost like a more bold, serious – and refined – big brother to its younger sibling. If you love great Châteauneuf, this wine is certain to delight your senses.

Mission Report:


WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER

SUBJECT: Jean Philippe Trollet

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Wine should exhibit the character of the Terroir of its origin.


WINEMAKER INTERVIEW

AGENT RED: Greetings, Jean Philippe. We are thrilled to be showing your 2007 ‘La Tiare du Pape’ Châteauneuf-du-Pape today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

WINEMAKER: I’m very pleased to have our wine featured on The Wine Spies.

RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?

WINEMAKER: There is a long and rich tradition of winemaking in this region, the legacy influences my winemaking decisions. I try to make the best wine I can while maintaining the tradition and reputation of Chateauneuf du Pape.

RED: Who do you make wine for? For people who enjoy good wine and good food, of course.

WINEMAKER: For people who enjoy good wine and good food, of course.

RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.

WINEMAKER: This wine is made from old vine Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre – three classic Rhone grape varieties. It has rich fruit and notes of spice, herbs, and earthiness. The 2007 season was very kind to Chateauneuf du Pape, the flavors and tannins are very expressive.

RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?

WINEMAKER: I am thinking of a loin of lamb rubbed with olive oil and crushed garlic, rosemary and thyme then grilled. Okay, now I’m hungry.

RED: In your opinion, what makes the Châteauneuf-du-Pape so special?

WINEMAKER: Chateauneuf is a classic wine region with rich history, not only in the history of France and the papacy, but in winemaking. The appellation is close to the Mediterranean Sea, yet with a mountain air influence that creates cool nights. The rocky soils and hilly terrain create stress for the vines that leads to concentrated flavors in the wines.

RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?

WINEMAKER: Bottling some 2009 wines in anticipation for the harvest this fall.

RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?

WINEMAKER: In France, we always enjoy wine with food, and so I suggest to open this bottle in the course of a meal, while relaxed, in good spirits with good company!

RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

WINEMAKER: I hope you enjoy this wine. Please visit our winery in Chateauneuf du Pape near the charming town of Avignon. A bientot!

RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of the Maison Bouachon in Châteauneuf-du-Pape can be seen in this satellite photo.

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