After three years away from in-person tastings, we were worried we might feel a bit rusty as we began our tasting trip yesterday morning. So we chose to begin with Christophe Mestre, a warm, generous winemaker who welcomed us into his cave as though we’d seen him only last week.
We tasted Mestre’s 2019s from bottle and 2020s from barrel, two very different but excellent vintages with lots of potential. Christophe also opened a bottle of his terrific 2018, which we’ve been enjoying since last fall. It continues to be delicious, and we enthusiastically recommend it again.
Mestre’s small-production Châteauneuf cuvée has become a favorite among our readers, offering uncomplicated, full-bodied enjoyment without the usual $50+ investment. The nose is explosive, with a wide range of notes from violets and pan drippings to strawberry jam and lavender. The mouth is smooth and soft and rich, with a dark red complexion and silky tannins. Critic Jeb Dunnock awarded 90-92 points, finding it “medium bodied, nicely textured, and with ample character.”
We shared a lovely lunch with Jacqueline André yesterday afternoon, and her tremendous, beautiful, ageworthy Châteauneuf is as good as ever. But Mestre’s cuvée shows a more accessible, more affordable, and less serious expression of the terroir. We plan to continue to enjoy both, and invite you to do the same.
Mestre Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2018
bottle price: $35