Château Gigognan Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vigne du Régent
France, Southern Rhone, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Wine Tasting Note:
Much improvement since the previous bottle popped last year. The additional time in the cellar has helped to bring it together. The alcohol has subsided and the overwhelming black pepper has moved to the background. In addition, the Grenache has started to peak out and add sweet strawberry flavors to the mid-palate. The nose has aromas of prunes and plums with some residual alcohol. The palate begins with plums and black currant and moves to a sweet strawberry mid-palate with a mildly bitter, long dark chocolate finish. The black pepper notes have evolved into a nondescript spiciness that is quite enjoyable. The wine has a light, softer texture, with medium tannins and high acidity. My palate would suggest a few more years would help to bring this together a bit more, but is approaching its prime drinking window now. A nice aged Southern Rhone blend at a reasonable price.
Okay, I know there aren’t many wine drinkers out there that maintain a diverse cellar of bottle-aged wines, but for those of you who do, and invest in the spendy, premium wines… how do YOU justify it?
Which Wines Are in Your Cellar?
2/3 of my cellar is made up of moderately priced red and white wines of good value. The other 1/3 is reserved for more expensive, special red wines. So, just what constitutes a “special” wine worthy of a premium price? It has taken me 20 years of collecting wine and an evolving palate to finally arrive at a couple of answers. My justifications for spending $75+ on a bottle of wine are:
1. Wines that have structure, balance, texture, be complex, BUT ALSO be accessible in no more than 5 years, and be able to age (AND improve) for 10 years or more from the vintage date (yes, even Barolo).
That doesn’t mean the wine will be in its prime drinking window then, just that I can enjoy it and then look forward to another beautiful experience down the road. Enjoying wines this way, requires a purchase of several bottles of a wine, per vintage. I will rarely do this until a producer has proven a good match for my palate and been consistent with quality vintages, year over year. Although, sometimes you just know from drinking a wine… and I say “drink”, not taste. This has happened too many times… Tasting Room Attendant hits you with attitude, goes on and on about the wine and presses you to purchase his/her amazing $100 (speaking of Napa here) bottle. Then, you are hit with a 1 oz. pour! Who needs a direct relationship with a winery, when you are treated like that! With a good experience, enjoyable wine and the right value, I will become a year-over-year customer and they can start thinking of me as a revenue source for years to come…
2. Wines that my family and friends enjoy.
An example in this category for me is expensive champagne. Not what I personally would spend big dollars on, but I really enjoy sharing good bubbly with friends who appreciate it!
IMHO, the holy grail of wine is the 1st category. Examples for me would be vintages of Barolo, Southern & Northern Rhone (also CA “Rhone Style”) and mountain fruit Napa Cabernet Sauvignon (Veeder, Spring, Diamond & Howell). Yeah, I know… no classified growth Bordeaux & cru Burgundy included. I have not tasted Bordeaux meeting that criteria under $75/btl. AND other regions bring the same level of enjoyment for $50. ENTRY LEVEL Burgundy STARTS at $50/btl and I just don’t enjoy pinot noir enough to explore that varietal for that kind of money. My Oregon Pinot is just fine thank you. I have Bordeaux and Burgundy in my cellar, but just to provide a representative collection, and it skews my average bottle price more than I would like. I know many of you DO spend that $150+/btl for Bordeaux and Burgundy. I wonder, how do you justify devoting the disproportionate percentage of your wine budget?
Filed under Barolo, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Howell Mountain, Mount Veeder, Napa Valley, Northern Rhone, Southern Rhone, Spring Mountain, Wine Cellar, Wine Collecting, Wine Tasting