2004 Clos St. Jean Chateauneuf Du Pape Rouge
"The 2004 Chateauneuf du Pape is an enormously sexy wine that is full-bodied, rich, generous, and quite ample by the standards of the vintage. Wonderful black cherry jam notes intermix with some smoke, herbs, and meatiness that jumps from the glass of this luscious wine that should drink beautifully for 8-10 years. Under the inspired winemaking talent of Rhone oenologist Philippe Cambie in addition to proprietor Vincent Maurel, 2003 marked a breakthrough vintage for Clos Saint-Jean, and that has been followed by some of the finest wines of 2004 and blockbusters again in 2005. This 120-acre estate possesses some of the best old vine parcels of the appellation and has always had enormous potential, but the style of aging the wines in foudres for 5-6 years or longer resulted in too many wines that were dried out and lacked freshness. That has all changed under Cambie s inspired winemaking, which keeps the Grenache in large foudres or demi-muids, and then ages the Syrah and Mourvedre components in smaller barrels. Yields, which were already low, have been lowered even further, and the wine is now bottled with neither fining nor filtration. If you havenâ€™t caught on to the exquisite quality of Clos Saint-Jeanâ€™s Chateauneuf du Papes, now is the time. Just a reminder â€“ their 2003s were some of the great wines of that irregular vintage in Chateauneuf du Pape, and they can still be found in the marketplace. These wines still remain somewhat underpriced vis-a-vis their quality, and a real bargain is the regular cuvee of Chateauneuf du Pape, normally a blend of 70-75% Grenache all aged in tank or large foudres and the rest Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cinsault."