My Blog: Celebrating International Grenache Day
September 26th, 2011
I hope you celebrated International Grenache Day last Friday in a good way. I went to dinner at the house of a wine collector/blogger friend named Jeff Leve, and he and his friends laid on some excellent wines from France’s Rhone Valley. Eric Levine of CellarTracker was also part of the group.
The Châteauneuf-du-Pape were obviously the celebratory wines. The handful of wines all have various degrees of Grenache in them. They included: 2003 Domaine de la Mordorée La Plume du Peintre; 2003 Pegau Cuvee Capo; 2000 Domaine de la Vieille Julienne Reserve; 1981 Henri Bonneau Chateauneuf-du-Pape Reserve des Celestins (corked!); 1978 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe; and 1970 Chateau Fortia (corked).
For me, the wine of the night was the 1978 VT. It was fabulously fresh and bright with cherry and cedar and dried mushrooms, with hints of minerals on the nose and palate. It was full and chewy with a beautiful balance of acidity. Long and intense. 95 points.
I was sad that the 1970 Fortia was a bad bottle. I was looking forward to drinking it because the estate brings back fond memories of visiting the region on a regular basis in the mid-1980s; I lived in Paris then. It is also important for Grenache because Fortia was the property of the late Baron Pierre Le Roy de Boiseaumarie, who helped establish France’s Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) in 1935. He also created the special bottle for Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
I remember visiting the estate in 1985 with then wine merchant, and now writer, Steven Spurrier, as well as Tim Johnston and Mark Williamson of Willis’ Wine Bar in Paris. The baron’s son Henri was running the estate, and he was proud to tell us about it being the birthplace of the AOC, the bottle, and the rest of it. He was also excited to talk about the damage to the cellar from a Royal Air Force bombing in 1944 (I think he was more excited to talk about this since I was with my British friends).
I don’t have my notes, but the 1970 may have been one of the bottles we drank with Henri, I think with some older wines as well, such as 1959. But that was a long time ago.
Anyway, I was happy that I had such fond memories during my celebration of International Grenache Day – despite the corked Fortia.Comments