Wine Talk

Snooth User: Muchkabouche

Florianaelle v Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Posted by Muchkabouche, Oct 2, 2009.

I just read this on wine access, and found it interesting. I love a full, rich, chewy wine. Yet, to pay the type of $$$ for a true representation of a good Chateauneuf-du-Pape that is aged well, I cannot and will not. I would rather buy a couple Chateau Montelena Chardonnays and cellar them for a few years. Back to the point. Has anyone ever ventured to actually try the Florianaelle that is mentioned in the following article? I would like to get some feedback from the educated palates here amongst us. Cheers. Sorry for the length, but here is the article in full.


Domaine Beau Mistral
Small Lots #32: A Discovery over Cassoulet
When Robert Parker described the 2007 vintage in the southern Rhone as the best "top to bottom" in 30 years, we agreed. But, there's something else that we've discovered in 2007, about which not enough has been said. We like to call these the "super-cuvees," tiny-production bottlings -- usually less than 500 cases -- of astonishingly powerful, long-living, rich and chewy blends that put too many Chateauneuf-du-Papes in their place. What do these wines have that's so special? Tremendous concentration and what the French call la mache, the kind of chewy fruit density that stands up to anything, even JP's cassoulet.

We were dining at Regalido in Fontvieille with our winemaker friend, Bruno Lafon, talking about the super cuvees of 2007. We had ordered the requisite cassoulet (more on that below), when Bruno told us about Jean-Marc Brun's super cuvee -- the ancient-vine Rasteau Florianaelle. "The secret to la mache in 2007," Bruno told us "is the Mourvedre." He took a forkful of chef JP's fabulous stew, then said. "If you had Florianaelle with this cassoulet, you may never pay the price of Chateauneuf again."

Bruno managed to get us an appointment with the super-talented Jean-Marc Brun at Beau Mistral. We were there for a few hours, before Jean-Marc poured this incredibly rich, dense, fabulously muscular, and (yes) chewy, 2007 Florianaelle. You've never heard of Florianaelle? Few people stateside have. The reason's simple. We got it all!

This is a deep-purple, elegant beast of a wine, made from the oldest, choicest portions of this superb estate. Just a few hundred cases were made, 100 of which Jean-Marc has earmarked for WineAccess customers. Free shipping on 4.

Reminder on Cellaring:
A reminder on this one: Florianaelle has tremendous aging potential, the equal of many 2007 Chateauneufs selling for twice the price. DO NOT drink this too fast. Buyers should open a bottle now to get a taste of Florianaelle's youthful bombast. The other bottles? Wait at least three years for the next. A decade from now, you'll have a treasure in your cellar.

Tasting Notes
2007 Domaine Beau Mistral La Cuvee Florianaelle Cotes du Rhone Villages Rasteau
"The prodigious 2007 Cotes du Rhone-Villages Rasteau Cuvee Florianaelle is one of the finest wines from this village that I have ever tasted save for that of Domaine La Soumade. This brawny, big-boned, densely concentrated, inky/purple-colored 2007 offers up aromas of black cherry liqueur, licorice, truffles, graphite, and incense. Hugely fruity and exceptionally full-bodied with a boatload of velvety, well-integrated tannins, this stunning Rasteau should drink well for 12-15+ years."
92-94 points-- Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate

Le Regalido in Fontvieille
Sometimes the concierge gets it just right, and at the Crillon late last fall, she did. We were checking out, on our way to Avignon, and asked her if she knew any place special in the south. She just smiled, pulled out an undersized piece of that incredible Crillon stationery, and with the silver pen wrote: "Le Regalido in Fontvieille. 30 minutes from Avignon. Don't miss the cassoulet!"

The log fire was crackling in this 19th-century converted olive oil mill when we arrived. There were just 10 tables in the beautiful Provencal dining room with the stone-vaulted ceiling. The menu was mouth-watering, but we were doing as directed; we ordered the cassoulet all around.

Jean-Pierre Michel's (or "JP" as he prefers to be called) cassoulet is no ordinary duck and white bean stew. It's a multi-day labor of love which begins by curing the pork belly and duck for three days. JP then slow cooks the duck legs into a fine confit with fresh thyme, parsley and peppercorns. Then he adds garden rosemary, tomato, white beans, the cured pork belly and sausage and simmers for two and a half hours. If ever a dish was designed for Chateauneuf, this was it. Unless you can do one better: match it with the 2007 Florianaelle from Jean-Marc Brun -- if you can find it. JP approaches cassoulet likes a conservator at the Musee D'Orsay restoring Manet's Luncheon On The Grass...meticulously calculating in every sleight of hand.


Reply by dmcker, Oct 2, 2009.

Don't know Wine Access' policy regarding reprints, but, nonetheless, the writing got me reaching for my travel agent and a quick trip to southern France. The cassoulet, and the wine, definitely sound yummy... ;-)

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