Testamental Grenache garnet through and through. Gorgeous rich plum on the nose, salted with red soil, copious stoniness and the slight patina of round candiness and black cherry. Somewhat surprisingly advanced for a 4-year-old wine even of this price and pedigree, and–given that the vintage scored as high as 99 on some scales–I’m a bit shocked as to its accessibility and tertiary. But then again… you never know these days WHAT to expect from a highly-rated vintage. In the olden days, it meant classic structure and tightly-wound fruit which would age indefinitely, but in today’s world of Mr. 92 and the American sweet-tooth, highly-rated vintages can often translate into flat-out jammy, alcoholic, early-drinking splendor. Briary barnyard plays a big part in the bouquet, but the savory aspects are strong, and the whole package comes off rich, round and ripe: The 3 R’s of successful wine-marketing in today’s world.
Tasting it introduces a wine considerably full of spirit and verve, but also yummy. ‘Yummy’ is almost NEVER a good word on this blog. Silky and refined on entry with nearly-shocking peppery heat appearing shortly there-after. Tapenade and mixed-grill provide the meat in the body, a dull macerated cherry-skin flushing up the concentration. Somewhat one-dimensional throughout, the placement of advanced-early-age characteristics against rotund alcohol combine for a wine that drinks fabulously, but on paper–and technically–doesn’t check out. Vapid in the finish, tannins a lackluster affair under the reductive mud-stain of watery berry, they still manage an abrasive coating to the flabby fruit.
I’m a bit torn on this wine: I want my CdP Grenache-driven and other-ingredient-inspired. I want my CdP roiled in barnyard and cellar floor and not fruit-forward. I need my CdP to balance the de rigueur “14-5” with sustenance and vigor. I need the baseline concentration to be rooted in terroir and liveliness. This wine doesn’t provide obvious distinctions on any of these things. While a considerably enjoyable glass of wine, if you look hard, it’s dead and hot. And unfortunately, on this blog: we look hard at things.
2016 LES COLLINES Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rhone France 14.5