Does anyone actually like Chateauneuf de Pape?

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A rhetorical question posed after trying the bottle pictured. And one with an obvious answer since they sell millions of bottles every year and have a very solid recognisable brand for which they seem to be able to charge a premium price.

So why is it that I can never find a bottle (of red – the whites are much better) I’d ever consider repurchasing? We’ve blogged on a few here, finding one pretty drinkable, another much less so. The negatives for me (apart from the taste) are the lack of a quality structure coupled with too much alcohol – 14.5% is the norm, 15% not unusual. The CdP above was bought ages ago and I can’t remember from where or how much. Cellartracker opinion was favourable but I found it heavy and clumsy with a bitter aftertaste – too much grenache? I still have a couple left from a Usseglio mixed case but doubt if they’ll change my mind.

The first wines I ever bought, other than from a shop, was a selection of Beaujolais cru from the recently closed Roger Harris, as it then was. This was in about 1975 – all done by post in those pre-internet days. I’ve always liked beaujolais – even nouveaux – but realised that I hadn’t opened a bottle for over a year. Which led me to buy the above Brouilly, from Waitrose, £12, even though it’s really a summer drink. Like CdP, quality in this area lacks transparency but the wines from Fessy have always been well regarded. Tried after a couple of pints it tasted thin and uninteresting but was much better on day 2 with all the characteristics you’d expect from good gamay.

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