Saturday, July 5, 2014

An Anniversary Delight

Okay, now I know that something's definitely going on with the camera. There's no chance that I wouldn't have taken a picture of this bottle or the event (that is, except for the shot on Delectable). It's a rare occasion that I pop the cork on a $100+ bottle of wine. But, if your anniversary doesn't count as one of those "pull that cork" events, I don't know what does. I must have taken a picture or two. They're just nowhere to be found.

1668.  2001 Domaine de la Solitude - Cuvée Barberini (Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC - Rhône - France)

I picked this wine up at the Vancouver International Wine Festival a couple of years back. Not being in the habit of buying $100+ wines, I have have to be pretty darned sure that I know what's in the bottle - and that we're going to really, really like it - before I pull out my wallet. The Festival tasting was the perfect opportunity to both discover the wine and know that I wanted more. I went back to try this wine at least three or four times and I sent many a friend over to the winery table when they asked "What have your favourite wines been so far?"

I don't believe that Domaine de la Solitude can normally be found in the Vancouver market and, if memory serves, this might have even been their first visit to the Festival. I don't know if there are many wineries in the Rhône that can claim family ties that truly bind the family to the very reason for the name of the Châteuneuf-du-Pape region. Operated by the Martin and Barberini families for centuries, one of the Barberini's took office in Rome as Pope Urban VIII and two of his nephews became Cardinals. This was in the early 1600's and this was also when "a part of the family then settled down in Avignon." I should think that, if anyone is entitled to make Châteauneuf-du-Pape, it's a family that can claim a Pope as one of its own - particularly since the family was making wine at their vineyard before the name Châteauneuf-du-Pape even existed.

As my sister, Vixen, is always very happy to point out, if Boo and I were involved in the making of wine, we'd be making Châteauneuf-du-Poof.

I could only hope that it would be as tasty as this wine. You might say that the Cuvée Barberini is one of the winery's premium bottles - although they do produce a bottle that goes for almost double the price of this one. Like Port or Champagne, this wine is only made in years deemed worthy of a vintage designation. After this 2001 bottling, another vintage of Cuvée Barberini wasn't released until 2004.

If the wine didn't already have a venerable name like Châteauneuf-du-Pape, they could have gone with the Aussie moniker, GSM, because the 2001 blend was "simple" with 40% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 20% Mourvèdre.

Balanced and integrated with dark fruit and smooth tannins, the wine could have aged for years to come, but it was drinking beautifully already.

I could do with more anniversary wines, more often.

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