Robert Parker 100
For the fourth time, the Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee da Capo has been produced, and for the fourth time, it has received a perfect score although I might back off the 2000’s perfect score based on the fact that it seems to be more of an upper-ninety point wine than pure perfection these days. The 2003 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee da Capo has distanced itself ever so slightly from the 2003 Cuvee Reservee. Before bottling and immediately after bottling, these two wines’ differences were not as evident. At present the Capo reveals that extra level of flavor, power, complexity and richness. It is a big wine (16.1% alcohol ” less than in the 1998, but more than in the 2000 and 2007) boasting a dark plum/garnet color as well as a stunning bouquet of aged beef intermixed with pepper, herbes de Provence, and steak au poivre. This unctuously textured, full-bodied Chateauneuf possesses enormous body, huge flavors and sweet, velvety tannins. Still youthful, it has not yet begun to close down, and I’m not sure it ever will given this unusual vintage. It is a modern day classic that should continue to provide provocative as well as compelling drinking for 20-30+ years. Always one of my favorite places to visit, Laurence Feraud and her father, Paul (a speed fanatic who raced in on a motorcycle during my visit), conducted a fascinating tasting in their cellars. As value hunters know, several of the low end offerings here are wonderful expressions of Provence that deserve to be taken seriously. Under the family’s negociant label, Selection Laurence Feraud, there are some noteworthy efforts that are well worth checking out. As for the Domaine du Pegau estate wines, I had not yet tasted the 2007 Cuvee Reservee or 2007 Cuvee da Capo from bottle, and when I did, they lived up to all my previous accolades. Here are some in-the-bottle reports on recent vintages of Domaine du Pegau’s Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Reservee, Cuvee Laurence and Cuvee da Capo. I have been buying the Cuvee Reservees since 1979 and the greatest examples include the 1981, 1983, 1985, 1989, 1990, 2003 and the 2007. Not that the other offerings are not high quality, but as Shakespeare said, â€œComparisons are odious.â€ Importers: Dan Kravitz, Hand Picked Selections, Warrenton, VA; tel. (540) 347-9400; Martine’s Wine, Novato, CA; tel. (415) 883-0400; and J & R Selections, Lansing, MI; tel. (517) 393-4441
Anticipated maturity: 2010-2040
Deep, dark red. Multidimensional bouquet of kirsch, cassis, red plum, pipe tobacco, grilled meat, licorice pastille and roasted coffee; this has nearly all of the Chateauneuf food groups. Utterly mouthfilling in its richness, with tremendous concentration of red and dark berries, garrigue, bittersweet chocolate and aged beef. Finishes with a velvety lushness, round tannins and palate-staining persistence. A simply remarkable wine: it finished at 16.2% but the alcohol only shows in the wine’s unctuous, almost oily palate feel.