Often friends and readers will catch mention of the phrase, "the joys of a deep cellar." Nothing could be more true than last nights two bottle dinner wines, the 2006 Dehlinger Sonoma County Chardonnay and the 2007 Grand Veneur Vieilles Vignes Chateauneuf du Pape.
In the case of the Chardonnay, a wine I drink less of than I should, the Dehlinger was perfect. As my dinner companion said, "this is wine that Peter Michael wish he made." That was followed up by, "the color, taste, bouquet and flavor, no one would guess this was an 11 year old California Chardonnay. It is so young." This is an unfiltered Chardonnay that is about as pure in fruit and flavor, with just the right amount of kissing from some lightly toasted oak barrels. I many ways, having aged so gracefully, the Russian River fruit has absorbed the oak, making it as clean and fruit forward as what you want in a French Chablis.
With regards to the 2007 Grand Veneur Vieilles Vignes Chateauneuf du Pape, it was more of the same. As a matter of fact it was even more impressive. The Grand Veneur red was over the top. While often Chateau de Beaucastel, Vieux Telegraphe and La Janesse will get the accolades, I've been tasting wines of Alain Jaume and their winery holdings for almost 20 years now. Each time I walk away impressed at how incredible they are at making wines from all over the Rhone. This wine is a fruit bomb, with elegance, structure and great length. The 40 percent Mourvedre, 50 percent Grenache and ten percent Syrah blend is massive, yet it was so smooth, the bottle was gone as fast as any CdP I've seen disappear at the dinner table. It was to say the least, a great example of aging in the cellar. When more youthful it had power but was clearly a wine that needed time. Today, it still has a good 10-15 years to go, but it's so enjoyable now, and still a baby in some ways as the body was silky like a nicely aged cabernet/merlot blend, but the spices and Provence herbs clearly screamed Rhone. Black currants, blackberries, black plums, sweet black cherry and more are all in the wine...WINNER WINNER WINNER