Truffle & Chateauneuf du Pape hunting in Provence

Crillon Le Brave

Tasted November 7, 2013 - November 10, 2013 by Papies with 873 views

Introduction

An excellent long weekend organised by the beautiful hotel Crillon le Brave (http://www.crillonlebrave.com/home.htm) which took us from hunting for truffle, to visiting Chateaux in the Chateauneuf du Pape to sampling amazing food and wine from the hotel's own restaurant. The new chef Jerome Blanchet is excellent and the sommelier Benoit is a class act.

We just added the good friends and the rest was easy really!

Full Info here: http://www.crillonlebrave.com/offers.htm?id_offer=28

Flight 1 - Lunch at Entre Vigne et Garrigue (http://www.chateauxhotels.com/Entre-Vigne-et-Garrigue-3036) (1 note)

Red
2001 Château Rayas Châteauneuf-du-Pape Reserve France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
94 points
Light red, bricking notes and points to a much older wine. This is a wine for those who like the lighter side of CdP. Elegant wine, well made although felt fragile at times. Red fruits dominate here with a herby bouquet. Medium in body, full on purity , well round yet firm and with balance. Good time to drink it now and will not disappoint although for the price one can get more. 93-95 from us

Flight 2 - Cellar Visit at Domaine du Charbonniere (2 notes)

White
2012 Domaine de la Charbonnière Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
89 points
Tasted at the domaine. Good fresh vibrant example of a CdP blanc. Fresh fruit notes on the nose but at this stage the wine is restrained by its youth on the palate. 88-89 if we had to choose a rating.
Red
2011 Domaine de la Charbonnière Vacqueyras France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Vacqueyras
88 points
Tasted at the domain. Quite a ripe expression here. Just about coming to drinking age. Good easy drinking and if u don't ask too much of it it will not disappoint you. 87-88

Flight 3 - Afternoon at Crillon le Brave with a visit from Domaine du Banneret - http://www.domaine-banneret.fr/ (2 notes)

Red
2009 Domaine du Banneret Châteauneuf-du-Pape France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
90 points
Small cuvée here, like 10k bottles utilising most of the 13 allowable CdP grapes, including the whites. Dark des se colour. Young wine yet approachable and not austere. Light caramel note on the nose along with good ripe fruit. Quite a bit of tannin especially compared to the 2011 we tried with it . good solid wine, well made but lacks a bit of complexity and also a bit vintage agnostic to be honest. 90 and wait a few years .
Red
2011 Domaine du Banneret Châteauneuf-du-Pape France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
90 points
Small cuvée here, like 10k bottles utilising most of the 13 allowable CdP grapes, including the whites. Dark youthful colour. Very approachable at this stage , much more than the 2009' round , giving wine with firm yet silky tannin. As we often say this is a level of wine that defines the 90 mark, well made, pure , balanced yet lacks magic. Almost the signature light caramel note on the nose too, comparing with the 2009. A bit vintage agnostic to be honest. 90 and can easily be enjoyed now.

Flight 4 - Dinner #1 at Crillon Le Brave, Jerome Blanchet (1 note)

Red
2001 Domaine Courbis Cornas Les Eygats France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas
90 points
Quite a dark dense colour here. No signs of ageing. Ripe fruit, velvety tannin, well round. Dare we say a modernist version of Cornas, definitely has seen some oak too. Solid and well made wine with ageing capacity. Good red fruits on the nose with oak aromatics , light vanilla, cacao. Interesting but lacks a bit of typicity . Still a very good wine. 91 and drink now.

Flight 5 - Cooking Class with Jerome Blanchet (1 note)

Red
2008 Domaine des Tours Vaucluse France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Vaucluse
88 points
from the Rayas stables and very much with the same signature of style. Light elegant but very fragrant on the nose. Mostly Syrah here , with a light feel for herbs de provence. Medium, on the palate, lacks depth and density but still makes for very enjoyable drinking even from, a 2008 vintage. 88 and well worth it.
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Flight 6 - Visit at Chateau la Nerthe (4 notes)

White
2011 Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
87 points
Tasted at the Chateau.Light in colour, straw colour. Fresh and vibrant nose. Definitely on the young side. Mediun body, lacks a bit of fruit density and in a way doninated by its acidity as a characteristic. Not memorable at this stage. 87 at best and we would suggest one waits a few years.
Red
2008 Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
89 points
Tasted at the Chateau.Reminded us of an en primeur tasting more than a 5 year old wine. Lots of red fruit, vibrant fruit character, youth, tannin ( not harsh though) light vanilla notes. Good to drink now if one likes the fresh fruit character . a good 89 from us at this stage.
Red
2006 Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
91 points
Tasted at the Chateau.More classic in style. Darker smoky feel on the nose, light caramel notes too. Starting to show a secondary face, spice, light earth. Quite a lot of fruit density and with capacity to age. 91 from us at this stage
Red
2009 Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée des Cadettes France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
91 points
Tasted at the Chateau.Split us in two and we had a long "discussion" over what we felt over this wine. The old vine concentration is very evident here, denser, sweet core and depth. Nicol found this shy and reclussive while for Andreas it was well round with a modernist forward and alnost linear side. Well round silky tannin and good to enjoy now. Not sure how it evolves from here though. 90 to 92

Flight 7 - Visit at Clos des Papes (3 notes)

A great walk in and try, especially from such a big chateau, and the opened some lovely wines. If u buy the don't charge you if u don't buy its 5 euros! Hats off guys.

Red
2006 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
93 points
Tasted at the Chateau.Traditional and pure in a way. Light spice, red fruits, herbs de provance and feels solid and well made all the way. Young at this stage but not austere or difficult just you get the feeling that this will keep evolving for another 10 years easily and improove even more. Unlike the 2003 that followed this this is a wine for traditional CdP lovers. Class and potential. 93 now and will definitely warrant a higher score in a few years.
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Red
2003 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
92 points
Tasted at the Chateau. The most variant in scores of the CdP wines we have come across. Today it showed a more restrained face yet on the finish it was unmistakably a child of the 2003 vintage with light stewed, burnt fruit. Heavier, riper and lacked the finiesse of the 2006. Light leather, spice, cloves and Nicol at times got christmass wine aromatics. Yet somehow even though its not our style of CdP it was a good wine and we would still rate it 92 albeit we are not sure how this evolves from here. A touch dry on the finish too but even in a challenging year the Avril guys did good. 92?
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White
2005 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
93 points
Tasted at the Chateau. A clinical show of a white CdP. Light mineral, mature earthy side, light honey and such lovely purity and character. Well evolved with capacity to keep on aging we enjoyed every second of it. Good depth and weight on the palate, nice ripe fruit feel . A good 93 and well woth the money.

Flight 8 - Aftenoon at Crillon Le Brave (3 notes)

Bought the 2009 & 2007 from Chateau la Nerthe and Benoit added the 1999 and here we are a mini vertical :)

White
1999 Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Clos de Beauvenir France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
92 points
Fine and elegant, well secondary now but still drinking very nicely. Light mineral, light honey notes, ripe fruit, citrus elements. At time it felt restrained but nicely balanced and albeit lacked the energy of the 2007 still it felt like a wine of character and style. easy 92 from us
White
2009 Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Clos de Beauvenir France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
92 points
Interesting fact here is that we tried 2 bottles from the chateau on the day with different dynamics. One had a lot of oak notes? buttery and vanilla while the second was closer to a CdP white in style. Maybe its the contrst vs the more linear normal cuvee. Nediun weight of fruit, light honey notes, light mineral. On the young side with good potential. could use some decqnting. 91 to 92
White
2007 Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Clos de Beauvenir France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
94 points
Open from the word go and full on mineral, light honey. Definitely benefits from light decanting. Big wine, firm and vibrant. Among the most interesting whites we have tried this year and full of purity and chacter. Very much the ambassador of the 2007 vintage.So much energy in this wine, vibrant. A good 93 to 94 from us

Flight 9 - Dinner #2 at Crillon Le Brave, Jerome Blanchet creates with black Truffle (4 notes)

Red
1992 Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée des Cadettes France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
93 points
A gem from a forgotten vintage. To be honest the age of the vines here makes the wine a bit vintage agnostic at times. This was well developed, pure with a nose of herbs, red fruit and light earth. The sommelier at the beautiful Crillon-Le-Brave told us that he had a lot of bottle variation, so one needs to be aware of this, but our bottle was just an elegant beautiful wine. 93
Red
1997 Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée des Cadettes France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
91 points
We had this on the back of the beautiful 1992 ( Papies 93) and was effectively a notch up on the power but a notch down on elegance. Decanting helps here and as with all the vintages we tried the concentration due to old vines makes the wine a bit vintage agnostic. Firm vibrant tannin , herbs de Provence and vibrant fruits in this but lacks at this juncture a bit of charisma. 91
Red
2000 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
90 points
Maybe we should have decanted. We found this closer to the 2003 , with a lot of ripe fruit and a sweet core.Was 2000 a very hot year? Definitely this felt like it which was in a way off putting as we were looking for the CdP usual elegance which was in a way missing here. 90
Red - Fortified
1980 Mas Amiel Maury Vintage France, Languedoc Roussillon, Roussillon, Maury
86 points
Party in a way with a lot of hot climate and dry red fruits, ripe sark fruits and with a sweet core. A touch too hot and alcoholic which spoils the complexity side. Okish but not special 86

Flight 10 - Truffle Hunting with Eric Jaumard (and mirette) of La Truffe du Ventoux http://www.truffes-ventoux.com/ (1 note)

Eric gave us an amazing inside into the world of black truffle and the took us for a small hunt around his lad with his beautiful dog Mirette. Lunch of course was based on black truffle!

Red
2005 Domaine de la Charbonnière Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Spéciale Les Hautes Brusquières France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
92 points
From magnum purchased from the domain, not decanted.Well round, silky wine, ripe yet balanced fruit, good acidity, starting to show an earthy more animal side. More dark fruits than red, light smoky, roast meat at times. Medium bodied and a classic style of CdP. Very worthy 92 and with very good ageing potential although not sure if it will get better than this or not.

Flight 11 - Afternoon at Crillon Le Brave (2 notes)

Red
2001 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
91 points
Opened and served. Not much benefit in decanting at this stage. The colour, much like the 2000, is on the cloudy side, red, no bricking. On the nose there is a light sweet core that carries to the palate along with the herbs and light gamey elements. On the medium side and at times felt more burgundian than south rhone. Lacks a bit of density of fruit. 91 to 92 and we will wait a few years before opening more as this will be better with an erthy side to it we believe.
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Red
2004 Château Rayas Côtes du Rhône Château de Fonsalette Reserve France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône
92 points
This is in no way a second wine or generic cotes du rhone wine. This is way much better, although the price tag is so too... but the name rayas on the bottle does add to its commercial appeal.. The red fruits make their presence known fro, the start and this is a primary mostly wine. Lots of herbs de provence on the nose light spice.Ligth rost meat side at times. Very elegant and pure and we really enjoyed it. 92

Flight 12 - Dinner #3 at Crillon Le Brave, Jerome Blanchet (6 notes)

White - Sparkling
2002 Taittinger Champagne Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut France, Champagne
93 points
Just a glimpse at this stage of what a magnificent wine this 2002 will evolve into in the future. Still very rich and toasty, nice ripe fruit, a tension and energy tht just made us smile. We served this in white wine glasses and once it developped it was si,ple gorgeous. Do not overchill it. a humble 93 for now but with lots of potential
Red
1990 Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée des Cadettes France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
92 points
Still going stong and consistent in the 3 years since we tried this last. No need to decant here in our view just be careful of sediment. Quite a white pepper note, spicy in general still, a touch gamey, herby, light liquorice on the note but also with light dark fruit. On the palate it is still healthy and alive and with good life ahead.Dark fruit feel too. Less eveloved than the gorgeous 92 we tried the night before but this is a very good wine. 92 and drink now
Red
1998 Château Rayas Châteauneuf-du-Pape Reserve France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
95 points
There is always so,e starstruck love when a Rayas graces ones table but still we think the below is an objective 95 wine true to its merits. Reaquired decanting as the 98 vintages shows well here. The nose 5well the wine in generql° is a burgundian expression of Rhone. Red fruits, light herbs de provence, strawberries such a lovely and long nose we kept on going back for more and more. The "nose" searching here was akin to a fine musigny. On the palate is very elegant, fine, good edensity of fruit and full of life. This is a magnificent experience for th eones who like their CdPs on the elegqnt less fruit heavy side. 95 easy and will keep evolving from here.
Red
1990 Château de Pibarnon Bandol France, Provence, Bandol
92 points
It followed a magnificent Rayas 1998 (Papies 95) so it was bound to feel banrnish and brutish to us so our note should be adjusted naybe...
This is a great wine and although the elegance and complexity is on the light side, it has a lovely density of fruit, and a vibrnat expressive bouquet with well secondary notes. Firm acidity, vibrant yet smooth tannin. Pretty solid wine. 92 from us and with lots of life ahead here.
Red - Fortified
2000 Cellier des Templiers Banyuls Grand Cru Cuvée Président Henry Vidal France, Languedoc Roussillon, Roussillon, Banyuls
Came after a long flight of beautiful wines so this is an incomplete TN. Firm, powerfull light porty dark fruit character. Show stopper of a bottle. Heavy wine al,ost amarone heaviness at times. Very rich, lots of clove and spices. will not dissappoint.
Spirits
2001 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Vieux Marc de Châteauneuf-du-Pape France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Good well mature grappa style / Eaux de Vie aged for 10 years in barriques. Dark orange, caramel colour. Very interesting.

Flight 13 - Le Jardin du Quai, Isle sur la Sorgue (2 notes)

White
2012 Triennes Viognier Sainte Fleur France, Provence, Var
85 points
Okish white, easy drinking, firm with some character. Not much more to report though.
White
2012 Yann Chave Crozes-Hermitage Blanc France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Crozes-Hermitage
84 points
Okish white but in no way memorable.

Closing

A magical weekend!

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