Chateau Simian 2019 Chateauneuf du Pape "Les Clefs du Caladas", Rhone Valley
Perhaps the most apt comparison of Chateauneuf-du-Pape with California wine is Zinfandel. Once briary, brambly table wines, both have have become behemoths in an effort to achieve uniform ripeness. In the case of Zinfandel, too many have become either disjointed or overripe and prune-y. In the case of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the proportion of their blends keep shape-shifting, yet the excessive alcohols in both make them problematic with food in modern times. Although 14.5% in alcohol, this wine attempts to rein in the excesses, with apparent restraint in the nose and in the mouth. The only giveaway to its elevated ripeness is a little alcohol burn in the finish, but it’s tolerable. This is not a wine that hits you over the head; instead, it pulls you in. With medium weight, it exhibits attractive cherry fruit followed by a tannic/alcohol grip in the finish. It’s definitely a wine you’ll want to explore if you’ve been a fan of Chateauneuf.