Skalli Grand Vin du Rhone
2006 La Tiare du Pape
Red Blend • Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC
What we say
Mission Codename: Crown or Halo?
Operative: Agent White, Red & Terroir
Objective: Secure an exclusive allocation of a favorite Châteauneuf-du-Pape for our operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Maison Bouachon
Wine Subject: 2006 La Tiare du Pape Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Winemaker: Christian Abry
Backgrounder: Last year we featured the 2005 vintage of this superb wine. Is we so good that it became a 2008 Wine Spies Intrigue Award Winner, Operative’s Choice, Top International Selection. As soon as we got wind that the 2006 vintage was to hit our shores, Agent Red was dispatched to secure an exclusive allotment.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape (CDP) is among this spy’s favorite Rhone wines. With each wine being a distinct blend of up to 13 different varietals (usually lead off with Grenache, France’s work-horse grape, with the trend leading to more Syrah and Mourvedre based blends). The name Châteauneuf-du-Pape dates back to the 14th century during the time of the dual papacy.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape comes in two distinct styles, the more traditional ’Old World’ (like this one) are dark, rich and spicy with firm tannins that lend these wines to cellaring; and the more contemporary fruit-forward style more reminiscent of New World wines.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep ruby red with a dark but only slightly opaque heart of dark garnet. Skinny legs meander their way casually down the edge of the glass after a hearty swirl
Smell – A beautiful bouquet of bright red cherry, early plum, soft sweetwoods, delicate red raspberry and cassis, with a subtle underlayer of dried flowers, soft exotic spice and lightly toasted oak
Feel – On entry, bold and bright with an initial tartness that leads straight to a beautifully integrated and balanced feel with fine tannins, great acidity and a softly dry minerality
Taste – Beautifully integrated and wonderfully balanced with complex flavors of bright cherry, cassis, tart raspberry and a softly subtle nutty minerality with soft spice and a hint of oak
Finish – Very long and slightly dry with ultra-clean flavors of cherry, raspberry and soft spice that linger
Conclusion – Finally, I got to review one of our International Selection wines! And, wow, am I glad that I did; This wine is fantastic. We have featured our share of great Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but this is the best one I have personally tasted. With beautiful fruit, bright acids and wonderful complexity, this wine was enjoyed, at first, on its own and, later, with an organic burger. An odd pairing, perhaps, but it worked perfectly. I suspect that this wine could be enjoyed with finer fair just as successfully. I really recommend this great wine to any CDP fan – or to those wishing to try their first Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
It was a day of marathon tastings in the southern Rhone. Agent Terroir suggested that we enjoy thee rest of the afternoon in Marseille. It was just a short drive from Avignon. Terroir suggested that we find a cafe near the Vieux Port to see the big yachts, enjoy the sun fade into the Mediterranean and perhaps one more glass of wine, this time, not spitting…
We settled in and just as the garcon arrived to take our order, my communicator buzzed with an incoming PIN message:
LFML @ 1845 CARGO RWY 13 P.U. AR
Let me translate… Be at the Marseille Airport at 6:45 PM to pick up Agent Red at the cargo facility at the end of runway 13. Problem was that it was 6:45 and I was sitting at the port, while my plane was arriving. I apologized to Terroir and hired a cab to take me to the airport. As I arrived, I could tell Red was frustrated for having to wait for me to pick him up. Excuses wouldn’t do. Even if it was OPS fault for the late message.
He had an overnight bag and a dossier in had. Handing me both, he said lets get started, I don’t have time to waste. Red was anxious, but unfamiliar with the French way. His planned tasting would have to wait until the morning. Jumping in the car I said where to? “Back to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, I know you where just there but look at this”, as he handed me the dossier.
As I skimmed the file, Red told me about the Skalli Family, owners of Napa Valley’s St. Supery. How they were committed to the perpetuation of wine making tradition and that we needed to gather some intel on the negociant Maison Bouachon.
Maison Bouachon had quite a history dating back over 100 years as one of the best barrel makers in the region. More recently, Maison Bouachon was quickly becoming known for making great wines including from the Rhone including Vacqueyras and Saint-Joseph. But it was the Châteauneuf-du-Pape that was the flagship.
By the time we arrived in the village it was late and thankfully Red was fading. I don’t think I could do another tasting after the marathon tasting from earlier in the day. This would give me some time to review the dossier and make the arrangements for the morning. I called Agent Terroir and he said he could arrange for a meeting with Christian Abry, Maison Bouachon’s winemaker. He also told me about the great tradition of the family. Needless to say, I was getting excited to taste the wine.
After a quick cup of coffee we headed out to Maison Bouachon. Once we arrived, we reviewed the vineyards and then headed to the back of the house, where on the top of an artisan barrel was an arrangements of gardenias and a bottle of the La Tiare du Pape and a few glasses. This translates to the ‘Crown of the Pope’ (Tiare is also the flower of the south pacific gardenia). With nobody in site but the farm hands tending the vines, I popped open the bottle and poured a glass for Red and myself. The puzzled look on his face said it all, as did my response…
“Accueillir en France, apprécier le vin!”
And enjoy we did!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Maison Bouachon in Châteauneuf-du-Pape can be seen in this satellite photo.
GRILLED FLANK STEAK WITH ROASTED GARLIC AIOLI
What the winery says
In XIVth century when popes moved in Avignon, they were used to spend their summer time in Châteauneuf du Pape, this explains the village name overhang there is ruins of popes’ castle. They promote (permit the development) of wine production and vineyards in the area, moreover under John XXII reign. Referring to this story this cuvee name is “La Tiare du Pape” meaning the pope’s crown.
Châteauneuf du Pape is the jewel and the roots of Maison Bouachon, established more than a century ago in
summer papal residence.
About This Wine:
Colour: Ruby colour with violin tints.
Smell: Little berries black and red squash (cherry and plum) with under wood notes.
Mouth: The attack is frank, mixing beauty and structure with notes of dry fruit (almond, nut). This set quality with rich and subtle tannins give fullness to this elegant and complex wine.
Vintage: 2006 will go down as a “winemaker’s vintage”. The issue involved the ability to adapt vineyard management and winemaking know-how to unreliable weather conditions (water stress or exuberant growth with a delayed start to ripening in some localities, storms, etc…). In spite of all this, unremitting effort in both vineyards and wineries made 2006 a great vintage for the region and its grenache: clean colours, lovely aromas and well-balanced structures with coated tannins.
Wine making: The processing consists in selection of parcels: old Grenache (70 years old) and others younger (30-40 years old), best exposures, low yields. Grapes are harvested by hands and rigorously sorted out. Each grape variety is vinified separately after total de-stemming. Long vatting (3-4 weeks) are done with frequent pumping over and daily control (analysis-tasting). Temperature is controlled in order to afford the optimum extraction of colour and aromas.
Maturing: We age the wine in French oak barrels and in wooden tun during 12 months before the blending. We also keep the wine in bottles during several months in our cellar, at good temperature and no light before selling.
“A barrel-maker born in Châteauneuf-du-Pape will eventually think of filling his barrels.” It came to no surprise when the Bouachon family, barrel-makers who had already been selecting grapes to produce wine for others, decided to fill their own barrels in 1898. Maison Bouachon the winery was born.
During the first half of the 20th century, Maison Bouachon was immersed in the viticultural tradition of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Over time, the Maison became familiar with the diversity of regional vines and terroirs while establishing strong ties with local winegrowers. Having gained a foothold in the region, Maison Bouachon continued developing its winemaking skill with the acquisition of barrel chais during the 50s: this included mastering the vinification process as well as perfecting the delicate art of blending and the aging.
Maison Bouachon developed its passion for terroir while seeking the utmost in quality. Close relations were established with growers from one generation to the next. Combining resources and know-how through solid partnerships made it possible to get the most out of vines and terroirs. Exceptional parcels were carefully selected. Grenache, the king of grape varieties in the southern Rhône valley, became central to blending. In the chais, beside the original barrels, new oak casks were used to age the best vintages.
In 2001, Maison Bouachon entered a new era when it became part of Skalli Family Wines. Already considered to be a great name in southern French wine, the Maison now aimed to be the most prominent wine of the appellation Châteauneuf-du Pape. Vintages of extraordinary refinement and complexity were conceived within the Rhône appellation tradition, their well-rounded bouquet revealing a multitude of incredibly fruity, spicy aromas.
Combining full-bodied harmony with exquisite refinement, Maison Bouachon wines remain true to their southern origins today. Served in both traditional and gourmet restaurants, they are also found in wine shops and specialty stores in France and around the world.
Maison Bouachon wines have been expressing the rich variety of their terroir for over a century. They have now become the most prominent wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe, the choicest appellation of southern France.
Ah! The vineyards of Châteauneuf du Pape, what a legend! The story begins in the 14th century when the pope’s court moved to Avignon. John XXII, the second pope from Avignon, who reigned from 1316 to 1334, had a castle built as a summer residence on the heights of the village of Calcernier, several kilometres from Avignon, and renamed Châteauneuf du Pape in 1893,. At that time, someone had the idea to plant a small vineyard where “excellent wines were harvested”. This delicate nectar was known as the Pope’s wine, its prestigious name before becoming the internationally acclaimed Châteauneuf du Pape. The Châteauneuf du Pape Controlled Appellation was created in 1933, defining the production area and conditions.
Suggested Food Pairing:
GRILLED FLANK STEAK WITH ROASTED GARLIC AIOLI
Serve with Maison Bouachon Gigondas
2 pounds flank steak
3 cloves garlic – peeled & chopped
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley – minced
¼ cup rosemary leaves – chopped
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
AIOLI (garlic mayonnaise)
5 cloves garlic – peeled (drizzle with a little olive oil & wrap in foil)
1 ½ cup olive oil (not extra virgin)
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon Dijon style mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the flank steak, garlic, parsley, rosemary and oil into a ziplock bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Roast the garlic package in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes or until soft.
Blend the eggs, garlic, mustard & lemon juice in a food processor. With the motor running, add the oil in a thin stream until the Aioli thickens. Season with salt & pepper.
Remove the flank steak 1 hour before cooking, rub off all the garlic & herbs and season with salt and pepper. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill and cook the steak over a hot fire to the desired doneness.
Slick the meat thinly, against the grain, and serve with the Aioli.
Serves 4 – 6