Thursday, February 11, 2016

Weekly Wine Review - French Red - 2011 Joel Robuchon Selection Chateauneuf du Pape

During a recent trip to Southern California, my wife and I needed to buy a couple bottles of wine to take to a dinner party.  We were in the 'hood of the Santa Anita mall, but I told my wife we'd never find good wine at the mall.  We ended up at a great little place called the Bottle Shop in Sierra Madre, and bought a couple of great wines. 

Before the dinner, I got a call from my wife's cousin - Chef Claud Beltran, our host for the dinner party - offering to let me hang as he figured out the dinner for the night.  He picked me up and told me he needed to make a quick stop, but he'd thought I'd like it.  Guess where we went...times up.... the Santa Anita Mall.  Wing Hop Fung is an Asian store at the mall, stocked with all sorts of herbs, gifts, dishes, more herbs... and oh... a SHITLOAD of wine.  So much for my mall snobbery!  There was a glass enclosure in the middle that must have contained a few million dollars in wine.  Sassicaia, Screaming Eagle, Petrous, Lafite Rothschild, La Tour, DRC - a dream collection of wine... at the mall!!!  I didn't have the big bucks to shop in the enclosure, but did come across this wine with a familiar name - Chef Joël Robouchon's Chateauneuf du Pape with the fine folks at Paul Jaboulet Aine.  If the name goes on a $500 tasting menu in Las Vegas, the wine should be good, right?  Well let's see!
Wine: 2011 Joel Robuchon Selection Chateauneuf du Pape

Region: Chateauneuf du Pape (Rhone), France 
Grape Varieties: Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault

Obtained from: Purchased at Wing Hop Fung
Price: $18
Wino4Life Category: Everyday Wine

Aeration before tasting: Just a swirl or two, no special aeration.
Cork Condition: Natural cork - no defects or issues.

Appearance: Clear, dark red, medium intensity.
Aroma:  Super-ripe, stewed, dark fruits, spices, herbs.
Taste: The stewed fruit, almost prune-like dominates the palate.

The Grade: I give this one a C.  I don't mind ripe fruit flavors from grapes that were very ripe when picked, but the stewed fruit aromas and flavors dominate this wine, eclipsing any other aspect of the wine.  Even for an every day level wine - you can do much better for your $20 - even with a nice Cotes du Rhone.  All was not a loss though - as I give Wine Hop Fung's wine selection a coveted A++!

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