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The ageing of CNDP

I’m interested to know others’ views on the ageing of CNDP.

My perceptions are that:

  • There’s a perception that CNDP doesn’t close down like Burgundy does, and yet I sometimes find it rather awkward as the fruit and fire tends to die down, while secondary notes are still to appear

  • The French in particular seem to drink it younger, but perhaps this perception just comes from restaurants in France where all the wines are young, and the CNDP stands out for being far too young

  • Young CNDP really has nothing in common with mature CNDP as an experience - I suppose the best way of capturing what I mean is that I can envisage someone liking young and mature red Burgundy, and liking mature CNDP but not young CNDP

  • I personally can’t really see the point of young CNDP - for me having something that’s in some ways a little like a CdR but too fierce and tannic isn’t as enjoyable as a very good, balanced, though lighter, CdR - both in terms of enjoying the wine and food matching; indeed what food really goes with too-young CNDP?

  • Sometimes people seem to gravitate to a drink around 10 years old rule, as with Bordeaux to a degree (depending on how serious it is), but I wonder whether this just sounds right and has no real basis - the best CNDPs I’ve had were hitting peak way after 10 years, and at 10 years old are actually pretty awkward

All this is, obviously, complicated by the rang of terroirs, blends of grapes and different producers.

As I say, be interested in others’ views. I have some less grand 2009 CNDPs, and also some 2001 Beaucastel, and should probably really make a start on both.

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Love this thread already!

One of the most memorable Châteauneuf I’ve ever had was a 2001 Beaucastel about 3 years ago. More recently my best experiences of châteauneuf have been with wines aged between 10-15 years.

I’ve also had a few much younger wines that have been brilliant at around 3-5 years, just a case of getting to know the producer and the style that suits you.

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That’s nice of you to say, Stephen. I mean, to look at it one way, it’s attracted one comment (yours) in five hours!

But to look at it another way, the proportion of commentators who like the thread is 100pc. Not bad!

Is there an issue of generalisation with CNDP? It is a massive appellation, and a large range of styles.

Something like Beaucastel or Clos des Papes can be very ageable - probably need the age to show what they really can do.

However there is both a huge amount of cheap stuff, barely different from generic CDR and trading on the CNDP cachet, at one end and also the producers at the other end who are (or were at least) heavily Parkerized, and seem to be more designed to be drunk young (or not at all!).

In a way I think the large range of styles and higher ticket price make it harder to really appreciate versus some of the other S Rhone communes. But when on song it can’t be beaten (in the S Rhone anyway!).

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I have been buying Beaucastel & Vieux Telegraph regularly for years.
I leave it for 10 years with TWS then start drinking it.

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I held off on the grounds that there are always others who know more than I do. While I recognise the quality of CNDP while young and have been known to guzzle them young they only ever really speak to me when over eight years old.

I wonder whether how climate change will affect the ageing potential? I doubt it will make it longer lived, but who knows?

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I’ve heard a few times that 8 years is the magic point at which many CNDPs begin to hit their stride. But there are so many variables (not least producer, cuvée and vintage) that that has to be a massive generalisation.

Serious stuff (Beaucastel, Vieux Telegraphe, Clos des Papes) I would be inclined to say start at 15 years plus - unless you drink on the fruit in the first 3-4 years. May just be me though.

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With the benefit of hindsight I would recommend anyone who hasn’t yet ‘settled’ on their fave CDP producers to buy older vintages and see whether you like it. A great mature CDP can be a revelation, nothing like trying it when 2 years old.
While we should all applaud the positive impact Parker has had in helping build the profile of Chateauneuf, there’s also no denying it had the effect of pushing certain producers to make a wine to suit his taste, and the excesses are well documented. For me the standout producer is Clos des Papes, both red and white, but it’s arguably also the wine that needs the longest to show its best - 15 to 20 years easily - and is the most consistent, mostly defying whatever the vintage conditions may be. Clos des Papes may have become expensive over the years, but still better value than some of the hyped up CDP cuvees, and easily on a par with some of the best burgundy 1er crus at 2-3x the price.
Other CDP producers whose wines can age wonderfully over 20+ years include Charvin (2001 and 2004 recently both fantastic), Vieux Donjon and Clos du Caillou Reserve. Beaucastel is again making great wines but went through a rather average patch imo from the 2000s onwards. Old Vieux Telegraphe can be a real treat - the '94 not so long ago a great example.
Bottom line I’d say, pick carefully, let it mature and drink CdR while waiting.

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And that is the problem.

There is an awful lot of commercial youngish C9dp sloshing around the market - just look at your average UK supermarket shelf for £18 bottles, and honestly not that good - so I don’t bother.

For mature C9dp, (plenty of names… see the thread below) one is looking at £45 ish. Again, I don’t bother, well overpriced.

So in my opinion - C9dp is a fools errand or a rich persons plaything. Instead there are some superb Gigondas, St Joseph and Vacqueyras if one chooses carefully.

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Relative to what? That’s down to personal preference of course, great examples of aged CDP at that price if you look carefully and usually (well) below the price bracket of similarly aged wines from other classic regions. It’s sadly easy to pick overpriced examples from any wine region, down to us to select the true gems.

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Yes - you make a good point - ‘overpriced’ wasn’t a good word. I guess what I was trying to say… is that in my opinion, to my budget mid £20’s Ch9 represents poor value for money compared to other CdR’s. £30 and upwards, it may indeed be the nectar of the gods, but it’s priced beyond my pocket.

En-primeur may be the answer ? however I generally buy wine pretty much ready to drink.

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Check out Domaine de Cristia for really good value (under £30) mature and delicious Châteauneuf.

I’ve had several recommendations for Clos du Caillou Cotes du Rhone La Reserve as a substitute for decent CNDP - it’s less than £30/bottle. The bottles I’ve bought have been too young to try any yet - don’t think it needs as long as CdP or Beaucastel, but definitely a serious ageworthy wine.

To quote the internets: Of all the terroir in the Côtes du Rhône appellation, the “clos” of Caillou has to be one of the most exceptional. Completely surrounded by Châteauneuf-du-Pape vineyards, this walled parcel of land was intentionally left out of the appellation by the owner, following a bureaucratic spat back in 1936. What this means today is that Caillou’s Côtes du Rhône wines are the qualitatively the same, with regard to terroir and exposition, as top Châteauneuf wines.

To get back on topic, I tend to drink my CNDP at 15-20 years, as I just love the leathery, herbal flavours it accrues. I had 2011 VT the other day and it was ready to drink, just a bit boring. That said, I’m curious about trying some Grenache-heavy blends younger, as I’ve recently very much enjoyed some young varietal Grenache from South Africa. Any suggestions for estates to try in that style?

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Interesting discussion, that prompts too thoughts:

a) If you are buying aged wine (perhaps at least eight years old) I think CNDP on the face of it offers remarkable value. You can not infrequently buy stuff 10 years old for less than the e.p. price of a new vintage.

b) Wine guidebooks often say how variable quality is in CNDP, what a big appelation it is, and how a lot of it isn’t very good but trades on the name. I’m sure that’s true… But unless you buy wine from bad merchants, I wonder how useful it is. There seems to be to be so much high-quality CNDP produced that people like TWS and other good merchants can take their pick of the best, and best-value, wines. If you’re a wine enthusiast, and use good merchants, then unless you for a terrible wine or style you really don’t like, I suspect you’ll struggle to buy bad CNDP… That would be my hunch.

I also get the point about CNDP vs other wines from the S Rhone. Though I wonder if the best-value examples of CNDP (perhaps things like Mt Redon) might even be slightly better value for money than the most expensive Gigondas. But who knows… and I don’t think we’ll know for years either way!

As I say, it’s an interesting topic.

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Same. I have some 09s which I might draw this year. I think the 07s were fine, but could have lasted till 2023 easily.

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That’s a fair point. I’d say around the £25 mark, you are more likely to get great examples from e.g. Gigondas and I love both CDP and Gigondas with 15 years of age on it; most people underestimate the longevity of Gigondas. It’s relatively easy to find aged examples in the market for £25ish.
Great value CDPs EP are Mont-Redon, Cristia, Vieux Donjon, Bois de Boursan. Great value ageable wines also easily available from Cairanne, Vinsobres and Visan.

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Checking my reserves now and the oldest I have is this one:

CdP from reputable producers used to be a lot cheaper, so I am sure there are opportunities elsewhere at more affordable prices.

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For precisely the reasons that you note, I have been buying …for years!!

I have consumed (so far!! :wink:) one case of the 2015. It has been wonderful. I have also given a few bottles to friends, who hugely appreciated the gesture.

But ONE wine that I have purchased from the Society of late is this one:

12 bottles in total and a legend in the making.

I am completely dumbfounded that it has remained on the website for as long as it has.
The Caillou CH9dP Reserve and the Quartz are brothers. Their ratings are almost identical in 2016, but the Quartz was not far off half the price. Jeb tasted a range of the Quartz CH9dp’s in 2020 and rated the 2016 98/100 with the caveat that it will probably merit triple numbers in 4 - 5 years.
£46 for a wine of that quality is an absolute bargain!!
Chapeau :tophat: Marcel!! :+1: :dragon:

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Yes I enjoyed the 2007s - caned the lot though is short time!