2003 Domaine du Pégaü Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée da Capo- France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (12/30/2012)
On first whiff this seems a tad reductive and in need of air. The first taste opens like a port made of grenache. Banyuls comes to mind except it isn’t fortified. Initially, the wine is fairly sweet. Over an hour the sweetness subsides and the garrigue here including pepper begins to come to the fore. This is clearly a very powerful and deep wine. The second night, this wine smells of garrigue, provencal herbs, dark cherry fruit, spices, and stone. Tastes the same plus iodine and beef blood. Rich and very long. This is a stunning wine. I will hold my remaining bottles for a long time to give this an opportunity to develop more secondary characteristics as it is just a baby at this point. This is a seriously complex wine. Plenty of tannin, acid and alcohol here, but it is all good. (98 pts.)
On the second night the wine has transformed again to become much lighter and elegant. Everything is impeccably balanced. Very interesting to follow the evolution of this wine over time with air. I have a bit left to taste again tonight. It will be interesting to see how it has evolved.
I had the '00 da Capo last night, and it was very nice and surprisingly elegant and understated (certainly not a hot, extracted ooze-bomb). The thing that struck me was that it wasn’t that much better than the regular '00 Cuvee Reservee…in fact, I would say it was about the same as the very best bottles of the Reservee that I’ve had in the past…probably a wine I would score in the 94-95 point range. (I have also had plenty of less memorable bottles of the '00 Reservee at closer to the 90-91 point range…it seems that bottle variation is something Pegau is somewhat known for).
At least with respect to the '00, I can’t see the justification for the price difference between the da Capo and the normal cuvee. And after drinking many bottles of the '03 Reservee (which consistently hit the 96-97 point range for me), I can’t imagine the '03 da Capo being significantly better…though I haven’t had it.
If there is a justification for stratospherically priced special cuvees, the da Capo has one: it is produced only from a prized parcel on La Crau, only in years in which Laurence thinks the quality merits it, and only in very small quantities. None of this argues that its quality difference makes it 3 or 4 times as good to justify a price 3 or 4 times as high, but that is a very different kind of determination. Personally, I don’t think any wine is worth even $100 a bottle. But as long as enough people do, according to the ways one determines economic value, of course, it is worth what they will pay.
I agree with you that it is hard to justify such a wide price disparity. Even the Reservee has gotten a lot more expensive. The da Capo is a lot less expensive at the winery. I paid about $200 for the 2007 da Capo when I visited there in 2010.
When you say small quantities, what do you mean? I think it is in at least the couple/few thousand case range. There was a prior thread but don’t recall.
The pricing seems to get quite marked up between cellar door and the US, probably because every vintage has gotten 100pts. I happen to think they are great, but also think the US retail pricing gets a bit crazy… I would think less crazy if truly small quantities but just don’t think so (how many micro production wines are there where I can easily buy all the large/huge formats that I want as with Capo).
I’ve had the opportunity to taste the '98 & '00 version of this wine & I don’t personally see enough of a difference between the da Capo & the Reservée to justify the tariff. And I always prefer the Reservée over the Laurence.
From my last visit there, as I remember, there is one cuve from which Cuvee de Capo is taken. I don’t know how many bottles are produced from that, but it will not be in the thousands of cases. More likely the hundreds.