The 2017 vintage was an unusual one in the Southern Rhône. Growers encountered coulure in the Grenache vines, as a cold snap after flowering dramatically restricted the development of fruit. Low Grenache yields meant low Grenache percentages in the wines, leaving the stage open for other grapes to shine.
And chez Christophe Mestre, the understudy Syrah performed magnificently. Mestre’s red cuvée usually features 70-85% Grenache, with Syrah somewhere around 5-10%. The 2017 features equal parts Grenache and Syrah (30% each) with Mourvèdre (25%) and Cinsault (15%) making up the rest.
The 2017 Mestre may be atypical, but it’s also flat out delicious. At first glance the perfume in the nose might make you think of Cornas or Côte Rôtie; but the accompanying notes and the mouth are pure, unbridled South.
Christophe Mestre continues to turn out delicious Châteauneuf du Pape at unusually good prices. He avoids heavy oaking and luxury cuvées, preferring an old school, uncomplicated style of wine. He makes a single red cuvée, and keeps his pricing astonishingly reasonable. Beaucastel this isn’t, but we think it vastly overperforms its $34 price tag.
His 2017 Châteauneuf-du-Pape won a gold medal at the Concours d’Orange, and it’s easy to see why. The wine offers a gorgeous floral nose, with Syrah’s violets front and center. The Syrah contributes structure as well, which means that this wine should stay textured a bit longer than his other Grenache-heavy cuvées. There’s really good complexity and a touch of tar and earth to go with the deep, dark fruit. Serve this all fall and winter as the weather turns cold.
Mestre Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2017
bottle price: $34
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