Glorious White ChâteauneufNick Passmore
Last week's column featured a wonderful Châteauneuf-du-Pape from a venerable estate. A red Châteauneuf. That last distinction, red, is not normally necessary. More than 90 percent of the region's production is red, so people just assume that when you say Châteauneuf-du-Pape, you mean red wine.
But not always, as is shown by this week's Wine of the Week—the equally impressive Château Mont-Redon Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2009 ($36), a glorious white CdP.
A miraculous balance of feather-light finesse and voluptuous sensuality, it is a glowing example of the advantages of blending different varietals. The Grenache Blanc, Bourboulec, Clairette, Roussanne, and Picpoul grapes are harvested and fermented separately before being blended together into a marvel of complexity.
So full-flavored are these varietals, and so ripe are the grapes grown under the generous Provence sun, that the wine needs no malolactic fermentation to achieve its mouth-filling generosity.
Just dripping with melons and peaches, tinges of oak, and a clean citrus acidity on the finish, this rich, earthy, and subtly aromatic wine is no polished, aristocratic Burgundy. But nor is it a limpid, New World oak-bomb. It is a wine of such focused power it can be happily drunk with a steak. Gloriously exuberant, it's a rousing affirmation of the wonders of the white wine of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
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When to Drink: Now
Breathing/Decanting: Not necessary
Food Pairing: Richer seafood like tuna or swordfish, grilled vegetables, chicken
Grapes: Grenache 40%, Bourboulenc 25%, Clairette 20%, Roussanne 10%, Picpoul 5%
Region: Rhône Valley