Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a wine straight from Heaven

Vineyard and château near Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

A friend of mine always says “sometimes you just need to be nice to yourself.” Very wise words indeed. Research actually shows that people get more satisfaction and feel happier when they spend their money on experiences rather than material items. This is exactly why I don’t gawk anymore at the recently raised MSG ticket prices, I just can’t put a price tag on watching my Rangers fight their way through the Stanley Cup finals. The memories last a lifetime and won’t ever go out of style or break down. While technically one could consider a bottle of wine a product, or a commercial item, I would put it in the “experiences and memories” category myself. A bottle of wine can do many things — expose truths, rekindle old romances, relive great memories, strengthen bonds between long lost friends or family. As a wine teacher of mine used to say, “a bottle of wine is a moment in time.” While I certainly don’t need another fabulous yet blister inducing pair of shoes, my palette could definitely use a special treat. So I felt like being nice to myself this week in what seemed to be a stressful few days.

To pick up my spirits, this week I am drinking the 2007 Domaine Senechaux Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a red wine blend (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault) made in the Provence region of France. The literal translation of a Châteauneuf-du-Pape is “the Châteaux of the Pope” which dates back to the days when the Vatican and therefore the Pope, owned the best land and vineyards for winemaking. While you don’t have to be Catholic to appreciate this wine, it is so delicious one could say it’s a tiny piece of heaven.

With a dark ruby red hue, the intensity of its color is matched by a nice long finish. A great wine to linger over. In between that, you’ll experience a fresh floral bouquet on the nose along with raspberry, black currant, cherry spice, and a black fruit blend on the palette. It’s a complex but wonderfully balanced full bodied wine that I fall more in love with after each sip. My sweet tooth is pleased by the notes of licorice, so I can avoid raiding the secret candy drawer tonight. (I am crazy for Twizzlers which happen to double as a straw at the movies if you bite off both ends). Small hints of toast and vanilla conjure up cravings for a cream soda that I had earlier today. There’s a subtle but not overbearing smokiness which lingers on my lips as I pour a second glass, determined to figure out the meaning of life by the time I finish the bottle. It’s just that kind of night.

Drinking this Châteauneuf-du-Pape makes me think of a French student  in one of my wine classes who used to draw the ire of the teacher because he just couldn’t bring himself to appreciate wines from any other country, and often argued with her. He was the ultimate French wine snob, and now I know why. At an average retail price of $59, I’d save this for a special occasion, or what I like to call, Thursday night. Life is short, so be happy, don’t stress, and drink some great wine.

You can pick up this fine example of one of southern France’s best recent vintages at Rosetta Wines in downtown Manhattan.

 


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