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Same grapes different wines

 

winesIf you’re a lover of food, an interest in wine seems a natural flow on. I have no training or expertise in this area, but I’ve been privileged to share many vinous occasions with winemakers, wine writers, wine educators and enthusiastic amateurs and I like to think a little of their knowledge has rubbed off on me.

I confess though, I’ve had limited exposure to European wines. I’ve quaffed vino locale in Italy, supped Rioja in Spain, guzzled vinho tinto in Portugal. My exposure to French wines has mainly focussed on Champagne.

Recently, my interest was piqued by a post at Flora’s Table about Chateauneuf Du Pape purely and simply because an Aussie red wine that’s dear to my heart, “Nine Popes” by Charles Melton Wines in South Australia’s Barossa Valley, is styled on this regional specialty.

It’s maker, Charlie Melton himself, takes great pride in his red wines. Nine Popes is considered his flagship. While other Barossa producers were pulling out grenache, shiraz (syrah) and mouvedre vines in the 1980s young gun Melton persisted and produced a blend inspired by the Southern Rhone specialty, Chateauneuf Du Pape. Today Charles Melton’s Nine Popes is considered a leading example of this wine style.

Out of curiosity I decided to taste Nine Popes beside a bottle of Rhone Valley Chateauneuf Du Pape. Stefano at Flora’s Table recommeded Domaine Chante Cigale as a good benchmark. I was able to procure the 2011 vintage. Nine Popes wasn’t released in 2011 so we chose to taste the 2010 vintage for comparison.

Three of us, all enthusiastic wine lovers, assessed these wines using the International Sommeliers Association Simplified Wine Tasting Chart available to download at Flora’s Table.

We tasted in two rounds. The first measure we tasted immediately after opening the bottles, without food. We then decanted the remainder and served the balance of the wines with a meal. It should be noted that the French wine was sealed with cork, the Australian wine had a Stelvin closure.

First Taste Domaine Chante Cigale 2011 65% Grenache, 20% Shiraz, 10% Mouvedre, 5%Cinsault Charles Melton Nine Popes 2010 23% Grenache, 73% Shiraz, 4% Mouvedre
Sight Vibrant ruby with a rusty tinge on the rim. Moderate viscosity Clear deep garnet with a vibrant rim.Moderate viscosity
Scent Restrained nose of some complexityvanilla, allspice, roast beef, burnt toast Intense, complex noseblood plums, black pepper, blackberries
Taste Dry, slighly acidic, Moderately tannic Restrained palate with medium finishSavoury complexity. Focus on the front palate Dry, full bodied and velvety smooth. Well balanced with long persistent finishJuicy berry fruits, licorice
OverallImpression Tight structure, Needs to breath Mouthfilling, fruity velvety
SecondTaste Domaine Chante Cigale 2011 Charles Melton Nine Popes 2010
Sight Unchanged Unchanged
Scent Still restrained, hint of blackberries, toasty,white pepper Intensely fruity- blackcurrants, blood plums, peppery spice
Taste Savoury complexity with a touch of white pepper and warm spices. Subtle blood plum fruitiness. Short finish, medium persistenceFine tannins. Elusive complexity Assertive ripe berry fruits with spicy overtones. Velvety, warm and mouth filling, long finish and persistence.
Overall An elegant wine of subtle complexity that would benefit from further bottle age.We found this wine hard to pin down and classiify. This added to its mystique and enjoyment A magnificent wine from a classic vintage drinking at it’s peak. Bold complexity and velvety mouthfeel.The greater proportion of shiraz in Nine Popes makes it a more assertive wine.

The retail price of the french wine was $70AU, comparable to the current 2012 Nine Popes release price of $66AU for mailbox members.

About ladyredspecs

I live in sunny Brisbane, Australia. My love of good food drives me as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating good food, respect for ingredients and an abhorrence of artificial additives, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

20 comments on “Same grapes different wines

  1. Stefano
    June 2, 2015

    Sandra, this is an awesome post! Thank you for utilizing our wine tasting chart for starters: I hope you found it helpful as a guide in your tasting experience.
    I loved reading your tasting notes and the way you presented them. Absolutely great, clear, concise and visually appealing.
    I am also glad that you enjoyed your side by side tasting and noted the differences in the styles of the two wines.
    Now I will go out to seek a bottle of Nine Popes: you got me quite excited at it and can’t wait to give it a go!
    Once again, many thanks!
    Stefano

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      June 2, 2015

      Thanks for all your help bringing this post to fruition Stefano. It was a really interesting exercise, enjoyed by all concerned. They were both excellent wines and I think in the end we concluded that the most significant difference was due to local style. The tasting sheet was very helpful for keeping track of verbal observations, and provided clear notes on which to base my post. We might do it again ……

      Like

  2. Michelle
    May 28, 2015

    My taste generally leans more toward the more restrained French wines than the Australian or California fruit bombs. But there’s so much I don’t know about wines from your neck of the woods. What a great comparison—wish I could have been there to taste those with you!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 28, 2015

      Sadly there is a lot of run of the mill Aussie wine made especially for export and shipped in bulk. Like all wine wine making regions of the world though we have our absolute gems, Charles Melton Wines in a gem IMHO!

      Like

      • Michelle
        May 28, 2015

        Oh same with American wines. Keep giving recommendations of Great Australian wines and I will definitely look for them!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. cheergerm
    May 26, 2015

    Love this post Mrs Recipe! GSM, my fave red grapes all combined. I have had the Nine Popes before but now the Yak and I are keen to replicate this tasting.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 26, 2015

      It was an interesting comparison Cheery, two beautiful but very different wines. (Pssst…. I wouldn’t give up Nine Popes In favour of the French wine)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. talkavino
    May 26, 2015

    An interesting post, Sandra. I’m just curious – your picture shows 2006 Nine Popes – was that the wine you were drinking, or was it 2010? Well made CdP definitely needs time before it is fully ready to drink.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 26, 2015

      No we actually tasted a 2010 Nine Popes. We thought it only fair that they had similar bottle age. The actual bottles were sent to the recycler before I had a chance to photograph them!

      Like

      • talkavino
        May 26, 2015

        Yeah, I’ve had the issues of destroying the bottle before taking the pictures…

        Like

  5. Sue
    May 26, 2015

    Ah, Chateauneuf! The first bottle of good wine I treated myself to over 30 years ago was a Chateauneuf – Domaine du Vieux Telegraph…. I love it, and have had different vintages over the years. I have also tasted some excellent NZ and Californian blends of the same grapes. Alas, circumstances change, and I’m unlikely to be drinking these too often now… 😦

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 26, 2015

      But you have your memories Sue, no one can take them from you..

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sue
        May 26, 2015

        Indeed! I have a store of future nostalgias!

        Like

  6. Gather and Graze
    May 26, 2015

    Such an interesting comparison Sandra! I’m thinking the Nine Popes sounds like it would be more to my liking, but then it has a higher % of Shiraz as well, which is one of my preferred reds. I look forward to tracking this wine down in the near future to taste.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 26, 2015

      Margot, you will never be disappointed with Charles Melton’s Nine Popes or Shiraz. It’s a toss up which I prefer. I like the restraint of French wine and doing this side by side tasting really highlighted the geographical difference in winemaking styles

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Francesca
    May 26, 2015

    I am sure that the Australian wine would be quite different given the proponderence of shiraz on it’s blend. Another great post. Thanks for the wibe tasting note link.

    Like

    • Francesca
      May 26, 2015

      Wine tasting notes… writing on a phone in the car is not recommended.

      Liked by 1 person

    • ladyredspecs
      May 26, 2015

      They were quite different, but both excellent wines in their own way. I was a bit disappointed the proportions were not closer for a truer comparison

      Like

  8. Eha
    May 26, 2015

    What a fascinating comparison! Altho’ I may have had more than the opportunity to compare, both wines are strangers to me, tho’ ‘Chateuneuf du Pape’ various faces ring back just distant memories . . . you have made us think, you have made us wonder, you have made us research . . . I certainly shall. If one truly is a lover of food, one is a lover of wine . . . a delightful perennial learning experience . . .

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 26, 2015

      While the wines were quite difference, we really liked that they were distinct from one another. I really like the restraint of French wine, it’s like playing kiss chasey trying to pin down what it is that appeals.

      Like

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This entry was posted on May 26, 2015 by in Food, Wine and tagged , , , , .
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