Chateauneauf du Pape

It turns out that Ingrid Michaelson has a very good reason for being so eager to buy her parents a home in the south of france: wine. Lots and lots of wine.

Chateauneuf du Pape is a beautiful historic town in France’s Rhone Valley that is known for its full-bodied red wines. 13 varieties of grapes are grown here, including Grenache (the macho man, so to speak, as it grows better in this region than it does in any other region in France), Syrah, Mourvedre, Rhone, Counoise, Cinsaut, Muscardin, Vaccarese, Picpoul Noir, and Terret Noir. I’d be lying if I told you I knew anything more than the names of these grapes, so I won’t bore you with research you can get on your own in two seconds on Google.

What I can say with confidence, however, is that Chateauneuf du Pape wine is delicious. (Prior to my decision to really get into wine I drank a lot of 2/$7 bottles of anything from Walgreens, so most things I’m trying these days are delicious, but hear me out.) I had the pleasure of drinking a 2009 Jean Bouchard Cabernet Sauvignon and this is what you should know about it:

A whiff of this stuff and you instantly get its complexity. It smells of Asian spices, deep red fruits, cloves and cinnamon, even tobacco. It’s a little confusing to the nose at first, especially for someone who isn’t a veteran at this sort of thing, but it all makes sense once it’s in your mouth. The wine has a lot of structure to it – that is, you can pick out a definite beginning, middle and end to it as it moves across your palate.

To put it simply, this wine has meat to it. It’s heavy and rich and so pairs well with something heavy and meaty. A nice fatty flank steak would be great with it if you’re feeling fancy, but any BBQ would be great. Since I prefer to eat vegetarian, I would drink this with grilled stuffed portobello mushrooms instead.

This is a $35 bottle, which for a college student could be a lot to drop on a bottle of wine, but it’s definitely worth it for when you want to throw a more upscale dinner party for friends.


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