Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape 1996

Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape 1996

Took this bottle to friends Bob and Gloria's for New Years Eve, Eve dinner party. Many threads here. I tasted this wine and this vintage at the Chateau during my Rhone/Provence/CDP trip back in '99. The elegant, picturesque and historic Chateau (below) was one of the highlights of a memorable week there.

Château La Nerthe sits on the brow of the hill on the outskirts of the village of  Châteauneuf-du-Pape surrounded by 225 acres of vineyards overlooking the small country road that heads down to the city of Avignon.

The cave cellars under the Chateau were occupied by the German Nazis during WWII as their command center for the southern Rhone Valley.

The Chateau, vineyards, country lane and cellars are shown on my travelogue page.

Adjacent to the property is the equally picturesque and historic Les Caves du Château Des Fines Roche, winery, hotel and fine dining restaurant situated in a classic old castle resplendent with turrets and all (shown left). One of the castle tower turrets was my guest bedroom when we stayed there. We walked down the rustic lane over to Château La Nerthe for our tasting appointment there.

I took a bottle of this vintage to Bob's and Gloria's for a celebration dinner for Bob's father, George's birthday, back around that time. George raved about this wine and it was a memorable evening. George passed on since and just recently Bob's mother passed on as well. So, tonight was a bit of a tribute and remembrance to them as we close out the year.

This La Nerthe overachieved and exceeded expectations tonight. Coming upon twenty years of age, I was expecting it to show its age and be in the last chapter of its aging profile.

We still hold and have served several bottles of '96 Chateau Beaucastel which also came from that trip, and it's fruit is quite suppressed and is showing its age a bit, hence, I used it as a barometer of what to expect.

When I opened the bottle, there was a slight bit of cloudiness and grey tinge to the color that I feared did not bode well for what was to come. Despite that, the fruit was vibrant, the body well composed and balanced and overall, it presented itself remarkably well, indeed.

Deep ruby colored with a bit of cloudiness and grayish hue, medium bodied, nice balance and soft finesse, floral highlights and the black cherry a red berry fruits were bright and vibrant, turning to tones of tapenade, baking spices, and hints of leather, with medium, soft tannins and decent medium acidity.

RM 89 points.