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White Chateauneuf du Pape Tasting

July 27, 2010

WHITE CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE TASTING – Vin Vino Wine, Palo Alto, California (7/22/2010)


Dan and Julie sharing a flight at VVW

Only about 5% of the production of Chateauneuf du Pape become white wines. The white varietals allowed in Chateauneuf du Pape are Bourboulenc, Clairette Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Picardan, Picpoul Blanc and Roussanne. So these are relatively rare and singular wines. Grenache Blanc and Roussanne are said to provide fruitiness and fatness to the blend while Bourboulenc, Clairette and Picpoul add acidity, floral and mineral notes. I’ve long been a fan of CdP Blanc, and I think these work well when paired with a variety of foods. Scallops, sea bass, or any white fish, especially with a fennel sauce, can be a particularly amazing pairing. Most CdP blancs are made for early drinking, but they can–as in the case of the primarily Roussanne blends–have long lives. In fact, like their white wine cousins in the Northern Rhone, white CdPs are typically very accessible and tasty in the first year or two (or three) after release, then head into a dumb period from which they may awaken again after 10 or more years. Then they typically have additional weight, honeyed tones, with baked fruit and smoky flavors, and will last for many more years.

In this tasting at Silicon Valley’s gem for daily, interesting tastings–Vin Vino Wine (http://www.vinvinowine.com)– the ’07 Beaucastel Blancs were particularly special and impressive, and should have very long lives. The expensive but very impressive ’07 Beaucastel Roussanne Vieilles Vignes is the best I’ve had of this bottling, followed by the ’01, ’00 and the ’86. From all reports, ’08 was also a very good vintage for whites, and the VT Télégramme and Pégaü Blanc are the first indicators I’ve been able to sample confirming this is the case.

6 current release CdP Blancs


  • 2008 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Télégramme – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
    Light golden yellow color; nice floral, rich almond, citrus, tart apple nose; tart citrus, mineral, almond palate; medium finish (40% Roussanne, 30% Grenache Blanc, 20% Bourboulenc and 10% Picpoul, from 5 to 10 year old vines) (92 pts.)
  • 2008 Domaine du Pégaü Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Cuvée Réservée – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
    Light lemon yellow color; muted, light citrus, almond nose; light-medium bodied, juicy, almond, spice, mineral palate with a touch of oak; medium finish 91+ pts. (60% Grenache Blanc, 20% Clairette, 10% Bourboulenc, 10% Roussanne) (91 pts.)
  • 2007 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc La Crau – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
    Light lemon yellow color; rich apple, floral, almond, spice nose; tasty, tight, tart apple, mineral, pineapple palate with good acidity; medium finish 92+ pts. (40% Clairette, 30% Grenache Blanc, 15% Roussanne, 15% Bourbolenc) (92 pts.)
  • 2007 Le Clos du Caillou Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Les Safres – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
    Light lemon yellow color; unusual, hazelnut, a little oxidized, vanilla, almond, baked apple, reduction nose; less reduction on palate of apple, hazelnut, peach and minerals with depth; medium-plus finish (has put on weight since I tasted it last year; blend of Grenache Blanc, Clairette and Roussanne) (92 pts.)
  • 2007 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
    Light lemon yellow color; oily textured, rich pineapple, almond, baked apple nose; tasty, poised, tart apple, tart yellow fruit, mineral palate with integrated oak and good balance; medium-plus finish (80% Roussanne, 20% Grenache Blanc; 1/3rd barrel fermented, 2/3s stainless steel; aged partly in 30% oak and 70% in stainless steel vats for 8 mos. before bottling) (94 pts.)
  • 2007 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Cuvée Roussanne Vieilles Vignes – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
    Light golden yellow color; oak, apple pie, floral nose; concentrated, rich but poised, vanilla, apple pie, mineral palate with fairly well integrated oak, depth and good acidity; medium-plus finish 94+ pts. (94 pts.)
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2 Comments leave one →
  1. keith Goldstein permalink
    July 28, 2010 7:45 am

    Interesting to see you rated the 07 beau blanc the same as the 07 beau vv. Was the “105” the price? Outrageous!

    • July 28, 2010 8:21 am

      Keith,
      The ’07 Beau VV got an extra “plus” from me, but I rated both 94 points. And the prices are very high. You could find them for less elsewhere, but the VT Blancs always tend to be the better value.

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