Robert Parker 97
A wine that can flirt with perfection on any given day, the 1998 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee de La Reine des Bois is rock-star stuff that has overflowing blackcurrants, chocolate dusted meat, graphite and toasted spice-like aromas and flavors. It has off-the-charts richness and depth on the palate, with layers of sweet fruit and tannin, a smoking mid-palate and serious length. This beauty is at full maturity, but well-stored bottles will continue to cruise going forward. As I wrote in the intro for this domaine last year, Domaine de la Mordoree is a reference point estate for Chateauneuf du Pape. Run by the talented brother duo of Fabrice and Christophe Delorme, with Christophe making the wines, they produce a relatively modern-styled Chateauneuf, as well as more than noteworthy Liracs and Tavels. For this tasting at the domaine (I was also able to taste through this full lineup again, from bottles in the U.S.), we started with the older vintages and worked toward the more current releases. In addition to their Reine des Bois cuvee, the Delorme brothers also release a special cuvee call the Cuvee de la Plume du Peintre. It’s made only in top vintages, and, as of today, it’s only been made in 2003 and 2005. There’s a scant 150 cases of each. Coming from a plot of 80-year-old vines located in the famed La Crau lieu-dit, the blend has changed between the two releases, as has the elevage. Importer: Fran Kysela, Kysela Pere et Fils, Winchester, VA; tel. (540) 722-9228; fax (540) 722-9258
Impressive saturated ruby. Sappy, superripe aromas of black raspberry and espresso. Lush, fat and thick with extract; quite oaky but has the sheer concentration of fruit to support the wood. Strong dark berry suggestion of syrah. Finishes with huge but spreading tannins and superb persistence. This very impressive, unevolved wine seems even younger than the unfinished ’99. I wouldn’t call this typical Chateauneuf but it a knockout.