Vertical tasting: Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Saturday evening: Fredrik, Martina, Håkan, Jessica, my wife Kristin and me are having a dinner. I have managed to scrape together three different vintages of Clos du Mont-Olivet, being a well-respected southern Rhône producer. I bought the 07 at the Systembolaget and a 94 and an 04 at the Maison du Vin in the village of CNdP when visiting this summer.

94 is allegedly a decent vintage in southern Rhône, whereas 04 is very good and 07 is supposed to be a KILLER. The bottle of 07 was aired a couple of our due to its youth.

But first of all, an artichoke soup and a glass of N.V. Palmer & Co, a nice champagne for the price.

The 94 shows a nice, round texture with blackberries, sausage and peppers on the nose. There is almost a salty sensation. Very complex. It is not every day you get your hands on a 16-year-old CNdP. However, if you are sitting on this one, enjoy it now. It is not likely to improve with further cellaring. Most of us agree that this is the best wine of the tasting. It also paired well with the subsequent cheese platter. 90p.

The 04 is quite similar in style to the 94 but of course do not show the same maturity. I am not totally convinced with this one even though it is a good wine. I’d give it somewhere around 85-86p.

Finally, the great vintage of 07 is tasted and…..I am pretty disappointed. Very sharp and alcoholic on the nose. Shows fruit but no earthy/meaty tones. At 15 % alcohol by volume, it is simply unbalanced and overwhelming in a negative sense. It is possible that this one will improve with cellaring, but I doubt that it ever will be any good. I would put it away for at least a couple of years if I had any more bottles. Oddly enough, the 04 has much more in common with the 94 than this headlock of a wine. Both the 04 and the 94 are 14% ABV. The 07 is indeed over-the-top and CdMO has not been able to balance the alcohol. Too much of a good thing (which in this case I presume spells S-U-N) has obviously been troublesome for the winemaker. 80p. I give it that it improved with the main course of file of ox with rocket pasta and rosemary sauce. But so would a glass of tap water as well. This is just not a great wine.

I will get back to you with reviews of the Les Cailloux of the same vintage, which was magnificent. A completely different animal.

Now, the draw card of the evening turned out to be a 2005 Bodega Mendel Unus. I am not surprised in any way. This is a serious wine. Me and my wife visited Mendel in Mendoza back in 2007 when on vacation in Argentina. I bought this particular vintage at the Systembolaget for 199 SEK which certainly is a decent price. Actually cheaper than at the estate. They only make two wines; this prestige cuvée and a somewhat simpler 100% Malbec (which is also very good). If you get your hands on this one: BUYBUYBUY! It is usually launched once every year at the SB.

The blend is 65% Malbec and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon. Argentinian Malbec sometimes has a tendency of being too fruity, in contrast to its native in Cahors in southern France which by no means is a friendly wine. I would guess that they use the Cab to rough it up a bit. Give it some more backbone. It is in every sense balanced with well-integrated tannins; black cherry and plum from Malbec and cedar tones from the Cab. So beautiful! I’d drink it every day. 92p.

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