Aging Chateauneuf du Pape

Scott it all depends on what you want out of the wine. I’ve posted on this before and many people disagreed but the entire point of aging a wine is to improve it, not to see if it holds on. The wine should transform into something better, and in my opinion, MUCH better with age, otherwise there’s no reason to age a wine. Some wines hold on. Big deal. Just buy the newest vintage.

But when a wine ages, it becomes something entirely different and hopefully better than it was in its youth. So if you like that, age the wines. IMO, they don’t usually get better. Some hold on, even for many years, but most that I’ve had don’t really improve. And I’m not talking about 10 years - that’s not really “age” for a wine, so it’s not impressive if a wine from 2004 is holding up - it damned well should!

What happens too often is that a lot of wines kind of crap out - it’s what John was talking about. They disappoint with age, rather than improve. Recently I had a 2000 Gigondas that I thought should last. It didn’t. Was way better in 2004. And so with many CdPs.

But not all. Rayas can hold on for many years although whether it improves is open to debate. But I’ve kept some just because I’ve liked some older ones that I’ve had. And I’m sure there are others. Still, I’d do some first hand research if you’re interested. And don’t forget that in many cases it’s a new generation making the wines and even when it’s not, they may have brought in consultants, etc. So if you have say, Cambie, consulting for you since 2009, that may be a very different wine than it was in 2001. Maybe not - I don’t want to slam the guy, but I’d be suspicious.


it depends on your taste and what you´re expecting …

CdP can age for decades, at least the ones that are not made by carbonic method (Beaujolais-like) …
I ´ve had wonderful examples from the 80ies, 70ies, 60ies, 50ies … they gain depth and dimension, are much more interesting and complex … but they lose the (usual) baby-fatness and foreward fruitiness … so if you prefer the latter you should rather drink them between 8-12 y.

But who has drunk up all his/her CdP until age 12 will never know how good a mature one
can be: 1981 Pegau or Beauastel, 1978 Clos des Papes, 1976 Bonneau, 1971 Vieux Telegraph, 1970 Rayas, 1962 Mont-Redon and others … but for this cause better stick to traditional producers.

The last two posts are driving at the heart of it. It has been my experience that some age lets them come together and integrate their tannins. In that regard the drinkability improves with some age. I also don’t doubt they can endure or last, but a good many of them may not necessarily improve. I think this is one of the most misunderstood concepts about a lot of wines that are collected for age-worthiness (versus actually improving or transforming). I see a lot of notes from the big event tastings of old wines and they are celebrated that the wine endured that long, but there are very often reports that many of the bottles were shot through and poured down the drain. Or by reading the notes, my guess is the wines would have been at apex many years earlier.

I do have a few I’m planning on letting run out a while to see what they do. Gerhard makes a good case for this. I’ve already had a few though in the past couple of years from 1998-2003 (save 2002, which as I recall was a washout vintage and I don’t think I’ve had any) that tasted somewhat flat and past peak. Most of the ones I’ve tried though in this range are in a pretty good place.

I’ve had wonderful bottles of 1978 Chante Cigale and 1983 Fortia. I also like old wine. Whether they improved, is difficult to say because I had never tasted them when younger, but they were in a delicious, fully mature spot. I suspect that they did taste different in their youth and slowly improved over time.

Whether there are any current producers who will hit the same apogee remains to be seen. I’m sure that those in modern camp won’t make it. Even those who are often seen as traditional leaning I have serious doubts about (newer vintages of Beaucastel, Donjon, VT). Charvin makes a great, traditional CdP, but they seem pretty mature at 10 years or so and I don’t know if they will improve for much longer after that. I would cautiously put them in the “will hold on camp” depending on vintage. Pegau is like the old styled Beaucastels, so I expect that Cuvee Reservees will improve through 20+ years. They have the structure and stuffing to unfurl and transform over the course of a long aging curve it seems.

IMO I think Rayas is the only producer who makes a super old school style grenache built to make it and improve for the long term. The red fruited and spicy whole cluster character bears some overlap in what I have liked from the better examples from the 70’s and 80’s.

Too many times I’ve had examples from the late 90’s and 2000’s where I just don’t like the evolutionary trajectory they are on (inky dark, baked, stewed, prune, raisin, fig or date dominated, with high alcohol). I can’t image these have anything to do with the great examples many of us have had from the 70’s and 80’s and will be interested to see how they develop.

A few years ago, had a 1988 Vieux Telegraphe that was absolutely singing, to the point it significantly changed the way I think about aging/drinking Chateauneuf du Pape (ETA: very much in agreement with Jonathan Loesberg and John Morris that this is a producer dependent inquiry).

Reading this post and typing this reply from my room at the Chateau des Fines Roches in CdP, after a day of tasting at Pegau, VT, and Beaurenard. The weather is horrible and the town is eerily quiet, in fact we may be the only foreign tourists here. Definitely the only Americans. Many places are closed even during posted open hours. Clos des Papes was locked up tight at 3:30PM. Tomorrow we have Beau and La Nerthe appointments plus whatever else we can find.

Personally, I prefer my CdP with 10-15 or so years on it. We’ve had several bottles recently from the early to late 90’s that were all in great shape - Beau, Pegau, La Nerthe. My oldest CdP in the cellar is early 80’s.The locals have been telling me that 01’s and 04’s are drinking really well right now but I am still camping on them. A friend consumed a 1964 Beaucastel for his birthday this year and said it was quite over the hill but he drank it anyway [cheers.gif]

At Beaurenard today there were both whites and reds in bottle from 1970 visible in the cellars… I am sure they have older stuff given how many are stashed there. Given the pricing I see for current releases I am going to keep buying older bottles as much as newer stuff. Oddly, pricing in the US is far superior to what I see in Europe. The rep at Famille Perrin had a very twisted look when I mentioned 12’s selling for $50 in the US. They wanted 70 Euro for the 2012’s, and over 120 Euro for 2010’s.

Wish I could afford this Jeroboam of 2010 Pegau Da Capo, they list an expected life of 50 years. Then again it costs more than two r/t plane tickets AND 5 nights in a hotel here. Sorry, it’s just a link for now since I can’t deal with resizing on my phone at the moment.

With regard to very old CdP, thanks to the kindness of Cole Kendall, I can outbid all of you. I’ve twice a year or so ago tasted a 1928 (I don’t remember the name on the bottling and it’s not one that exists anymore; if Cole is reading this, maybe he’ll fill in) that was wonderful, vibrant and young.

One of those times was at a CdP dinner where the rest of the wines were from the early to mid 90s (including a Bonneau). All were drinking well, but all showed more age than the 28, so I still think 10-15 for most of them, with longer times for some like Pegau and VT (I also had the 88 VT recently and it was singing) is not a bad rule of thumb. Even Pegau and VT certainly do taste great by age 15, so, while I think this business of drinking young (under 7 or 8 years old) bottles is a little of a waste, you won’t be hurting yourself by drinking those two at that age.

So you´re not content with the 30-40 years ageability of a 0.75 bottle Da Capo ? [whistle.gif]
Won´t be much more than two nights in Fines Roches … neener

Seriously, for instance the “regular/classic” CdP by Bois de Boursan/Versino can age extremely well, I had several older vintages from 81, 84 (!), 85, 88-91 (!) … all very good to wonderful and developed … incl. the 84 and 91 !
In summer I drank a bottle of 1989 BdB together with Francois Audouze - and we both were stunned [winner.gif] about the quality … and these bottles won´t break a bank.

Wait a second, is that Butterbean posting on Wine Berserkers?

And if so, what wine pairs well with butterbeans?

Luckily I can laugh at myself. But that man(?) has teats that weigh more than I do. champagne.gif

Have you heard of him? The great Eric Esch aka Butterbean.

What is your last name? It isn’t really Sch is it?

HAHA, nope never heard of the guy. Schwenter is the last name, happy to disclose but generally don’t like trolling what could be considered a luxury forum under my full name.

I’m going for CdP with Butterbeans. I bet he can put it down by the Jeroboam!

That’s a bit strange, Beaucastel is usually 50-60€ on release here in France. The 2010 I bought some months ago for 60€ also. I can still find many '95-05 around the same price.

Maybe they don’t really want to sell at the domaine ? That happens sometimes…


They indeed really don’t encourage you to buy at the domaine. They give great tours and tastings, tell you the room to go to if you want to buy and frequently also say–what is true–that there’s no real advantage to not buying it in the U.S.

Probably depends on the producer but the best btls I’ve had so far were a 92 Henri Bonneau Celestians and some mid 80s/ mid 90s VTs and Beaucastels. All them drank with 20+yrs btl age on them. I’m trying to hang onto some of my own btls for 15-25yrs and see what happens. I’ve had 98 VTs recently that still taste like babies.

I also like drinking older wines, and generally prefer Chateauneufs from the mid nineties and earlier. As a point of reference, have opened Bonneau Celestins 2004, which needs several hours in a decanter. Even then, it is still far too young, but I do like the '04 vintage.

I just opened a bottle I had been afraid to open for a while, the 1990 Bosquets des Papes. There was a batch sold as “Cuvée de L’An 2000” which could have been called “Cuvée de Brett de Merde” instead. Most of my bottles were undrinkably spoiled. I hadn’t had one in quite a few years. This one was still Bretty but not nearly as bad (my wife wouldn’t drink it, though). The wine was okay but just kind of a rustic CdR character, no real gain for its age (except maybe the Brett died of old age). Compared to 1990 Beaucastel and Pegau which have totally blossomed, it’s just not very interesting. I have one or two bottles from the original release too. They were not spoiled but never better than on release.

Depends on taste, maker, vintage and storage. I am by no means extremely experienced, and I tend to consume my wine semi-young. However, I have had sublime experiences from relatively unknown houses, and less than average from the board favorites, all of them with age. In my own experience, I find more variance than with, say, bdx. This all depends on independent circumstances, of course, but at least with cdp, it is a cheaper thing to try out…

I know this is going to sound ignorant, but I don’t think CNP ages past 10 years.
I have had several examples of aged CNP (10, 20, 30 years) and I just don’t think they get better as they age.
I find that often times Grenache hollows out and becomes dry and honestly not all that justifiable to age.

I’ve drunk a ton of 98’s, 99’s, 00’s, 01’s and they all share the same profile as they get too old.
Maybe aged CNP just isn’t for me.

Just my .02…

That pricing for 12’s was at the Famille Perrin tasting room in CdP. Just got to taste at the Chateau yesterday, along with La Nerthe. Had some amazing wines, including 90 La Nerthe, 01 Beau, and a stunning 91 Beau from magnum. They don’t sell at all at the Chateau Beau (at least to average Butterbean’s like me), but Sarah did offer us a great tasting experience. The 09 old vine Roussane was quite excellent as well and I can picture that wine cellaring for a long time.

The 90 La Nerthe had been recorked at some point according to the staff, but was nicely bricked in color and had layer upon layer of depth and a lengthy stay on the palate. flirtysmile