Eight weeks ago my family took off for France (frequent flyer miles and renting your house out on Airbnb is the way to do it!) and enjoyed time in Provence and Paris. One highlight of the trip, was our visit to Chateaneuf du Pape - often considered to produce the epitome of wine from the Southern Rhone.
A bit after returning home I had a quick two days with my parents :-) during which my father brought out a wine that truly exemplifies the road to Chateauneuf.
(We poured the 2012 version of this wine after I returned from Seattle)
- sorry that I didn't save any of the 1955 for you)
He mentioned that he had meant to share it with me for years given that he knows that I truly love the wines from there. Perhaps we should have tried it twenty years ago but no second guessing here.
So, out came a 1955 from the famous house of Chapoutier - a La Berardine Premier Cru Chateuaneuf du Pape (the vineyard was designated Premier Grand Cru back in 1855 but that term can't be used now).
Wow, thanks Pape - I mean Pop!
He carefully excavated the 60 year old cork and, believe it or not, managed to get it entirely out without dropping even a bit into the wine - truly impressive!
Then he maintained a death grip on the bottle when pouring to ensure that not a drop was misplaced. Much appreciated, as it turned out that the wine, while over the hill, still had a lot to offer.
It still had some fruit and body to go with all the secondary and tertiary notes of an aged wine which was entirely unexpected as we assumed pure vinegar would pour out ... Cool.
My mother had put together a very nice dinner highlighted by a rich mushroom soup which the wine was just fabulous with. Just as surprising was the fact that the La Berardine had legs - it kept drinking for a full 45 minutes which is extremely unusual for such an old wine.
How fun is that? Quite fun indeed.
I really appreciated the meal with my parents; the conversation, the wine and food.
As should you whenever you can enjoy a 1955 with your family - or even a 2015.
After all, mainly its the company and enjoyment of the food and evening that counts - although the wine doesn't hurt.
And if you want to plan ahead a few years grab a bottle of Chateauneuf to lay down - we have about a dozen examples for you to consider.