It has been quite a while since I updated this blog, for which I apologize. It certainly was not because I have not been drinking any wine! And so I return with this post about two very lovely, but quite different, Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the same house.
I brought these wines out of my cellar, er closet to an annual dinner hosted by my friends Curt and Tim. For Christmas evening Tim prepared a cassoulet, an excellent meal to pair with a Châteauneuf-du-Pape. I selected the 2007 and 2008 by Domaine du Vieux Lazeret because as I was updating my inventory, I learned that these bottles had fallen into the "drink now" category. Because my wine cellar is a closet, I cannot keep wines for the full length of what the recommended cellaring time may be. Needless to say, I was a bit alarmed and worried these wines might have gone bad, and that would be unfortunate.
Happily, we all were quite pleased to discover that the 2007 might have had some more time left (sadly, it was the last bottle in my closet), while the 2008 was perfect (I do have one more of the 2008). Despite coming from the same house, each wine was quite different.
The 2007 had a delightful herbal and earthy bouquet blooming out from the steely garnet color as we decanted. This wine had plenty of leg on the glass, as well as firm tannin that suggested that despite the "drink now" warning this wine might have endured another year in my closet. There was a delicious sour cherry note mixed with some chocolate and cinnamon. Wine Spectator was a bit stingy rating this an 89, but I rate it with a 9 using my scale at the left.
The 2008 was a different animal right from the first pour. Rather than a sharp garnet, this was a ruby red, and the nose was lush with blackberry. The spice notes were still there and some delicious cocoa at the finish, but the tannin was softer. This wine was definitely ready and drunk at the right time. Wine Spectator rated this one an 88, which I'm inclined to agree with. While the wine was delicious, it was pretty narrow and lacked that characteristic bigness so commonly associated with Southern Rhône reds. I will also rate this with a 9 using my scale. And given the fact this wine was definitely ready, the other bottle in my closet will not be there for long.