Every now and then I start my article with the thought that it would be so cool to be in the epicenter of action, i.e. in the wine region I’m about to describe. Doesn’t every writer strive towards being fully inspired by his/her surroundings and bringing the reader a close to tangible experience? Of course. But hey, an apartment with a sunny view and some imagination is good enough for now. The Rhone Valley will eventually be crossed off the bucket list.
Clos de l’Oratoire des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2007 has one hell of a name and if you don’t know even a tad of French, you’re in for some laughs and confused squints. Drinking it is a whole other story. The deep garnet color creates an assumption that the wine will probably be dominated by tertiary (bottle aging) notes, but no, this CdP still grips firmly to tones of blackberry, cherry, plum, blackcurrant, leather, vanilla, cloves and splashes of charred wood in the background. The palate is dry with medium (+) ripe tannins, open and juicy acidity and of course, high alcohol. Everything is in a gorgeous balance, showing serious complexity, richness and true style of the region and the four grape varieties used in the blend. Long finish dominated by spicy black fruit tart. I’d see this wine drinking well in the next 10 years without too much hesitation (except when choosing which food to pair).
Grape varieties: 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre and 5% Cinsault
Aging: 10-12 months in foudres and French oak barrels (new and used)
Average price: 40€
GN score: 95/100
Region: France – Rhone Valley – Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Here, Grenache is the dominant grape and contributes heavily with startling intensity and fruit concentration. It carries the entire wine on its shoulders and receives smoothness and spiciness from Syrah, tannins from Mourvedre and perfume from Cinsault. With this fusion and the 2007 vintage showing all its excitement (little spring rain, Mistral cooling effect and temperate pre-harvest period), this wine truly deserved the Al Capone status of the Rhone Valley. It’s firm, somber and sophisticated, but hazardous if consumed in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
When founded in 1859, Ogier ran as a négociant, purchasing grapes and wines from local growers and winemakers to age and bottle under their own label. The game changed during the 1990s after the JeanJean group bought the company and started domaine-bottling high-quality Châteauneuf. Terroir came into focus with highly diverse soil – pebbles, rich in clay, to give fullness to the wines, sandy soils (known as safres) to provide hints of elegance and limestone, contributing with delicate minerality. Oh, and their hidden feature is biodynamic viticulture, launched into practice in 2011 to spark up the interest for low-intervention production. Go, explore!
Written by Aleksandar Draganić.
I’m a WSET certified grape juice drinker, and yes, I’m that 1% of people that love their job. I drink wine, write about it, preach about it, even take pictures of it. Find me at @grapenomad