The 2017 vintage was an unusual one in the Southern Rhône. Most reds here rely on Grenache for a majority (or at least plurality) of their blend, but in 2017 Grenache vines across the region had a bad Spring flowering, and yields were down dramatically.
This set the stage for other grapes to shine, and at Christophe Mestre’s domaine in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the understudy Syrah performed beautifully. Mestre’s cuvée usually features 75% Grenache, with Syrah somewhere around 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. We bought it last fall and sold out earlier this year — when we saw it still on the price list we decided to re-up.
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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