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We Try An Old Chateauneuf du Pape

Phil recently put out several bottles of old Chateauneuf du Pape which have been lurking in the store since release.  I had never heard of Le Boucou but according to Livingstone-Learmonth Le Boucou was a member of Les Reflets.  This was an association of growers who bottled and stored their wine in the same facility.  Some of the other members included Les Cailloux, Domaine de la Solitude, Domaine Chante-Perdrix, and Clos du Mont-Olivet.  This wine was made from fruit sourced from a single 10 acre parcel named Le Boucou.  The wines were traditionally made with no destemming.  Robert Girard produced this Cuvee du Belvedere and his brother Andre Girard produced cuvee Lou Patacaiau.  Today the son of Andre, Jacque Girard produces wine under the name Domaine Les Girard du Boucou.

I let the wine rest overnight before I opened it.  There was a decent amount of sediment so I decided to decant the wine then immediately tasted it.  We pronounced this bottle as sound and followed it over the course of one hour or two.  Half expecting it to crack up it actually developed over the first hour.  In 1992 Michael Dresser wrote about some of the best 1989 Chateauneuf du Pape gems in The Baltimore Sun. Of the Le Boucou he wrote, “A big, rich wine with a seductively supple and silky texture and intense pepper and earth flavors.  There’s enough backbone to last a decade, but it’s so delicious now you might as well just drink it.  A great value.”  Three years later Robert Parker’s tasting note comments, “As most of Girard’s Chateauneuf’s tend to be, the wine is gorgeously fruity and up front at the moment, giving the mistaken impression that it will not last.”   This is a pleasing, fully mature wine, which will certainly last a number of years.  While it does not provide a moving experience, it certainly is satisfying to drink such a great vintage at such a price.  I get excited by drinking an older vintage and love that such bottles keep popping up at the store.   I would suggest decanting the bottle then monitoring it over the first hour then start drinking once it has opened up.This wine was purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

I should also comment that I got to partake of some hospitality in the form of a dessert.  Phil’s wife baked lovely chocolate and salt cookies.  She managed to balance the crisp exterior, density of the interior, and a perfect salty balance such that one could taste a wine afterwards.  In no way did it influence my tasting note.


1989 Le Boucou, Cuvee du Belvedere, Chateauneuf du Pape – $25
Imported by Wines of France.  This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache, 155 Counoise, and 5% Syrah sourced from 40-year-old vines.  It was fermented then aged for 12-20 months in tank.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The color was a light garnet with a cherry core.  The light nose was mature with roast earth and eventually revealed tobacco and strawberry.  In the mouth there was focused red fruit, acidity, a touch of acidity, and a generally autumnal nature.  It was a little expansive in the finish where fine, ripe tannins came out.  The aftertaste was lifted.  ** Now.


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