The first time I drank a bottle of Chateau de Paraza came shortly after it was found in a best buys under $10 list from Robert Parker in the 80s. I'm guessing that wine was from the 85 vintage and the wine was so good I bought a case and over the next ten years or so drank it up having moved from Philadelphia to San Diego and sharing it with friends in both cities as part of Friday Wine Groups.
Last night with Thanksgiving dinner at a friends I opened up a bottle of the 2007 Chateau de Paraza Cuvee Special, a lovely blend of 40% Syrah – 40% Grenache noir – 20% Mourvèdre. My love of wines from the Minervois date back to Chateau Villatade and Gourgazard. The 85 Gourgazard was one of the first Languedoc wines I every bought, and I remember how it aged for many, many years much like the 85 Chateau de Paraza did.
The wine last night blew everyone away, including me. It was like drinking a lightweight Chateauneuf du Pape, which my no means is a negative. In many ways at age ten there's no rush to drink up the rest of these at all. For starters the wine was open for almost two hours before we drank it, after being stored at 55 degrees. I recalled drinking this when it was first released and given how it's made, with an inital round of carbonic maceration, then going into a concrete vat, the wine is assembled based on how each grape tastes, this is a winemaker driven wine based upon some really good vineyard fruit.
Upon release the wine was candy apple and cherry fruit. Last night the red cherry fruit was there, but it was backed by black pepper spice, garrigue scents, blueberry, black raspberry and black tarry cherries. While many would think this wine is at peak, I think there's more longevity ahead for this wine as it kept developing in the glass and was not showing any sight of color change at all.
We often look at wines price tags and decide if the wine is worth it or not. For a sub thirteen dollar wine, and as low as $10 dollars, this is a super outperformer, and given the price hasn't changed in thirty years, one heck of a great bargain buy.