Richard purchased, from Yapp Brothers of Wiltshire, a selection of older vintage Rhone wines. We’ve previously posted about the Cote Rotie 1984 (March 23) – now it’s the turn of a 1972 Chateauneuf du Pape. This wine was labelled as the reserve of M. Gabriel d’Ardhuy, a French author, who owned interests in vineyards in both northern Burgundy and the Rhone.
There was very little staining to the cork and only a slight ullage so we thought this may have been re-bottled at some more recent date but it did have some fine sediment pressed to the side of the bottle, just above the shoulder.
The colour was an expected brick red but still garnet at the core and completely clear but, as we worked through the bottle the wine became cloudier from the loosened sediment. There were still noticeable windows on the glass – reminding us that the alcohol was 13% and that the wine still had some life to look forward to.
The nose had sweet tones, was medium-deep and smelt of strawberries.
The palate was quite thin but had some length and had maintained a structure. The sweet fruit was present but balanced by a savouriness. Just like the Cote Rotie, we could drink this red wine without the need of food.
It wasn’t as stunning as the Cote Rotie but still remarkably good for its 41 years – and it was, of course, 12 years older.
[Richard: as these things go, not too expensive. £23 I think. It’s high risk, of course. But worth every penny, if only to try and remember what you were doing in 1972. A novice ‘old red wine’ drinker commented, ‘dry, complex flavours, no fruit, green and earthy, with a surprisingly smooth finish’.