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Date: Tuesday, Febuary 17th, 2015


Time: 6:00 PM


Price: Members: $74
            Guests:     $94

          (includes appetizers)


Venue: Faculty Club, Univ. of Toronto,

         41 Willcocks Street
         Toronto, Ontario
         M5S 1C7  - 


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         - Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015
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         - Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015


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2007 ChÂteauneuf-du-Pape, "a Truly Historic Vintage"

Tuesday,February 17th, 2015


Guest Speaker: Steven Elphick


Notes on the Wines

How the Wines Were Ranked



It’s the deep freeze of winter and most people don’t want to leave their warm homes.  Think, however, of a quote by Diogenes; “What I like to drink most…is wine that belongs to others.”  We’re not just looking to drink any wine; how about drinking 2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape?  Robert Parker Jr., a Châteauneuf lover, has been quoted: "This is the greatest vintage I've ever tasted in the southern Rhone." He called the 2007’s “a truly historic and profoundly great vintage.”  This vintage has received many, many accolades not just from the wine critics such as Parker and Jancis Robinson, but from the winemakers themselves from such esteemed producers as Rasteau, Perrin, and Guigal.  Similarities have been made to the outstanding 1999 and 2001 vintages in N. Rhône and 2000, 1998 and 1990 vintages in the South.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape (CdP) roughly translates to "The Pope's new castle" and, indeed, the history of this appellation is firmly entwined with papal history.  This wine originates in the Rhone valley of France and is the most famous and largest of the Southern Rhone appellations.  CdP typically only allows thirteen grape varieties to be used, but the 2009 version of the AOC rules in fact list eighteen varieties, since blanc (white), rose (pink) and noir (black) versions of some grapes are now explicitly listed as separate varieties.  Red varieties allowed are Cinsaut, Counoise, Grenache noir, Mourvèdre, Muscardin, Piquepoul noir, Syrah, Terret noir, and Vaccarèse (Brun Argenté).   White and pink varieties are Bourboulenc, Clairette blanche, Clairette rose, Grenache blanc, Grenache gris, Picardan, Piquepoul blanc, Piquepoul gris, and Roussanne. (Source: Wikepedia).   Despite the large number of wine varieties permitted in CdP wines, most are based mainly on the Grenache grape, a classic hot-climate grape that produces robust, full-bodied wines with high alcohol and low acidity. Small but increasing percentages of Syrah and Mourvedre are often added to supplement colour, aromatic complexity, spiciness, acidity, and structure.

CdP wines evoke flavours of herbes de Provence, black cherry jam, black currants, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, spice, earth, roasted meats and even beef blood.  They are high in alcohol, typically 13-15%, but are required to be a minimum 12.5% under the appellation rules with no chaptalization (i.e., adding sugar to unfermented grape just to increase the alcohol level). These wines are usually powerful, rich, full-bodied, and concentrated enough to evolve for 15 to 25 years but they can be enjoyed younger.  Some have said this vintage, while great for longevity, is also very approachable. 

If you are into ratings, all of our wines score 90+ by critics. Château de la Gardine was acquired in 1945 by the Brunel family, active in winegrowing since 1670.  Patrick Lesec ‘s operation is artisanal, small, focused, and consistently reliable.  Cuvee du Vatican’s vines are over 100 years old but the Diffonty family’s agricultural roots go back to the 17th century.  Domaine Giraud started in 1974 after the owners changed from the distillery business to wine making.   Clos St. Jean began in the 20th century and its fame took off following Robert Parker’s evaluation of their ’03 wine.  Domaine de la Cote de l’Ange is quite young but the wife’s family previously owned the esteemed Monpertuis domaine.  Domaine la Roquète was taken over in 1986 by the rising stars, Daniel and Frédéric Brunier,  whose family produces the celebrated Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe.  Lastly, we have Beaucastel, one of the great estates of the Rhone Valley, owned by the Perrin family.


Appetizers will be served with the wines.


The Wines

2007  Château de la Gardine                             $ 37
“Perhaps the best buy is their 2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape  Tradition, which is a blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, and the rest Syrah and Muscardin. Their most traditional wine, it sees some aging in small oak barrels but virtually no new oak. Dense purple and soft, with luscious black currant and black cherry fruit, licorice, pepper, and garrigue, this wine displays some subtle smoke in a full-bodied, attractive, velvety style, with sweet tannin and plenty of glycerin and richness. This is a beauty that can be drunk now or cellared for 10-15 years.” 90/100,, October 2009
2007 Patrick Lesec, Pierres Dorées                 $59
“…65% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, and 15% Syrah that spends time in used, 1- to 4-year-old Burgundy barrels. Only 10% of the blend is aged in steel. It also includes a lot of stems during fermentation, but that is certainly not noticeable in either the aromas or flavors. Its dense purple color is followed by a sweet, floral-dominated nose of incense, soy, licorice, black fruits, meat juices, and bouquet garni. Deep, full-bodied and powerful as well as silky-textured, layered, and long, this beautiful wine should evolve for 10-15 years.”  94 pts,, October 2009


2007 Cuvée du Vatican, Reserve Sixtine        $54
“The blockbuster 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve Sixtine (55% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 15% Mourvedre from 50- to 105-year-old vines) boasts an inky/purple color as well as a sensational perfume of camphor, graphite, black currants, black cherries, licorice, and smoke. Built like a young Bordeaux with its tannic structure, this full-bodied, intensely flavored wine reveals a meaty character in the mouth. As with most vintages since 1998, the 2007 requires cellaring. (RParker, 10/ 2009)


2007 Domaine Giraud, “Tradition”                  $45
“Deeper-colored than Les Grenaches de Pierre, it offers beautiful, ripe black raspberry, licorice, cherry, roasted herb, and meat juice-like notes, full body, a voluptuous texture, and a superb finish that lasts for 40-45 seconds. A blend of 60% Grenache, 35% Syrah, and 5% Mourvedre from 70-year-old vines, all except the Syrah is aged in steel tanks and concrete. The Syrah component spends time in small barrels. It should drink well for 15 years. “ 93 pts,, October 2009

2007 Clos St. Jean                               $42
75% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 4% Mourvedre, 3% Cinsault, 2% Vaccarese and 1% Muscardin.   "Its dense plum/ruby/purple color is followed by a rich, sumptuous bouquet of crushed dried flowers, sweet black cherry and blackberry fruit, a voluptuous mouthfeel, broad, deep, concentrated flavors, and unbelievable purity, depth, richness, freshness, and vibrancy (a hallmark of this special vintage). Accessible and palate saturating, but never heavy or overbearing, this amazing wine should drink well for 15 or more years." (10/09) 92 pts Wine Spectator: "Super ripe and friendly, but also sleek and refined, with a gorgeous mouthfeel to the black currant, crushed plum and black cherry fruit, all laid over black tea and shiso leaf notes. The finish is long and perfumey. Drink now through 2019." (Web 2009) ETA: July 2010.  94 pts RParker.  91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar"


2007 Domaine Cote de l'Ange, Gasparri         $40
“The 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape (70% Grenache and 30% Syrah and Mourvedre from 45-year-old vines) is a sleeper of the vintage. Dense ruby/purple-hued with an impressive nose of black fruits, meat juices, truffles, and licorice, it is a layered, velvety-textured, full-bodied effort with superb purity as well as length. It can be drunk now or cellared for 12-15 years.”  91 pts,, October 2009


2007 Domaine la Roquète, Brunier                 $45
“The finest tradition cuvee yet made, the 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape (70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre aged in foudre and concrete tanks) possesses a deep ruby/purple-tinged color as well as a bouquet of black currants, black cherries, garrigue, pepper, and lavender. It is a full-bodied, ripe, exceptionally elegant, pure wine to drink now or cellar for 12-15 years.” 93 pts,, October 2009


2007 Château de Beaucastel                             $92
“Beaucastel’s 2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape has turned out even better out of bottle than I predicted. An inky/ruby/ purple color is followed by a glorious nose of blue and black fruits, truffles, pen ink, licorice, and meat juices as well as glorious levels of acidity and sweet tannin, buttressing the fruit’s fabulous freshness and vibrancy. This full-bodied effort still displays considerable tannin, no doubt because of the relatively high Mourvedre content. It should resolve its tannins in 2-4 years, and last for 25 or more. “ 96 pts,, October, 2009

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How The Wines Were Ranked

Please check back after the tasting for the results.