Vieux Remparts, Chateauneuf du Pape, 2010, red-wine from France
If you try to do a little research on the Internet, you won’t find out much about this wine. And then you ask yourself: why there is so little to read about this wine, since actually it’s not bad at all, in fact quite good. The bottle itself already says a lot — not only the world-famous name Chateauneuf du Pape graces the label — but the papal insignia is also molded above the label, imprinted into the glass itself. If you were to then read the label: Appellation d’Origine Controllée, at least wine experts know that this is not a special or noble wine of this exceptional provenance, but just a simple geographic denomination. And then it hits me: Mann (in English Oh man!), that’s the Aldi wine that I bought so many years ago! Now, I hope every reader knows what Aldi is: a German grocery discounter that expanded in most of Europe and even in the USA. For Aldi prices, a bottle of this wine was really expensive, favorable for Chateauneuf-du-Pape numbers (not cheap!). Now I also understand why there’s nothing to read about the winemakers, about some great or boring family that has been producing this fantastic wine for centuries, with the unlikely sacrifice and long-standing faith, ever since the Pope built his summer residence in Avignon – of course because of the great vineyards at lower Rhone. How profane: Aldi has in fact let some unknown mass producers produce a large number of bottles of “red” (Grenache, Syrah, Merlot) at the local appellation. That it’s well packaged, as I said, not only makes things at Aldi interesting and eye-catching, but also does the trick in many fine wine shops.
Before I cause a misunderstanding here: the wine tastes really good to me. It was in my cellar for many years, which obviously did it a lot of good. I’m sure if I would open this wine in a blind tasting, the judgment of professional sommeliers and testers would not be too bad! Sure, this a very classic and basic red wine: nothing organic or dynamic, no real craftsmen at work here, so we can say it lack any individual story or character – and you might almost say – industrially produced wine sometimes goes down easy! Why? Because even in this example, there are humans behind the production, professionals. The wine is spicy, there are notes of elderberry and a lot of carnation, and it is wonderfully dry although full-bodied. The balance between fruit, a bit of wood and tannin is perfect, almost blended together.
And if you come by Captain Cork (www.captaincork.com/jahrgangsfuehrer/France/2013/2013), then you learn that 2010 was an excellent vintage on the Rhone and for all Chateauneuf-du-Pape, which undoubtedly intensified the quality and the great enjoyment of this wine.
Now, you would have to ask at Aldi if this wine is still around. Of course it’s not. But if one or the other reader finds a bottle in his parent’s basement or a neighbor might have forgotten it in his kitchen, then open and enjoy it. To put it bluntly: this is the kind of exceptional wine that I usually opt to describe here. But it is more than rock solid. Also Aldi does stock some products which are not bad, and which you would not be ashamed of having acquired. This wine is the second Aldi wine I have discussed in these pages. The first one was a catastrophe, if you want to read it again, then follow the link here: Chablis, Etienne Rodier, 2013