Tardieu Laurent Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Special 2003
First I must apologize for the haitus. With a friend getting married and, accordingly, other good friends in town, life has been somewhat busy – albeit in the happiest way possible. It’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to sit down for a nice quiet evening with a tasty bottle of wine. This bottle was not only tasty, but far beyond the ordinary.
Tardieu Laurent is a negocient, meaning they only buy grapes and do not grow them. However, they have contracts with some of the best growers with some of the best terroir in the Rhone valley. In fact, the sites are so special that Tardieu Laurent won’t reveal the secrets of their sources – so we’ll never really know where all the grapes come from.
This starts with a massive kirsch nose and the dust-bowl scorched earth that explodes from the glass speaks of Chateauneuf to its core. Dust, bitter chocolate and anise rounded out this very dense and very impressive nose.
The palate was still very very tannic, speaking of this wine’s ageability. With the surprising youth, the palate was a bit tight and needed serious decanting, after which I found cola, tons of earth, raspberry, blackberry, cherry, some barn, funk, and chocolate. The layering and structure is, frankly, denser than most wines I’ve had save for extremely youthful high-end Bordeaux. This was a bit unbalanced right now, but I have no dout this will evolve into one of the best Chateauneufs of the vintage. There are no signs of heat stress from the very hot 2003 vintage, nor are any of the flavours baked or over-extracted. This is a great wine waiting to happen. Seek it out, then lay it down.
~$70 at Marquis