Cellar Management

Pick My Next Bottle – 2004 Châteauneuf-du-Pape

The August installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the 2004 vintage. As I mentioned in the first installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. I will open the winning bottle this coming weekend and publish a Bottle Note shortly thereafter.

Similar to 2003, the 2004 growing season was marked by drought, but with substantially less heat. As in ’03, yields were less than normal—down up to 40 percent at some domaines—a result of the small, concentrated berries that the vines produced. However, unlike 2003, when the Grenache grape was the stand out, all the varieties performed well in ’04, including Mourvèdre, a key component of many Châteauneuf-du-Papes.

At 12 years of age, I feel like the top wines from the vintage should be in a sweet spot. Time to confirm my suspicion.

The Contenders:

2004 Clos des Papes – Amazingly refined, with a pure, silky current of raspberry ganache and cassis flavors that glides along supple tannins. Hints of mocha, mineral and garrigue check in on the long, pure finish. Has serious structure for the long haul. All about balance and finesse. Drink now through 2030. 96 points from the Wine Spectator.

2004 Janasse Chaupin – Dark ruby. Wonderfully fresh nose dominated by bright raspberry and strawberry preserves. Silky and very sweet, with explosive red and dark berry flavors, medium weight, excellent concentration and supple tannins. The fruit/tannin balance is outstanding, and the wine finishes impressively long and juicy. 93 points from Stephen Tanzer.

2004 Beaucastel – Thoroughly primal, with a torrent of raspberry and boysenberry fruit rushing forth. Only shows hints of its full range, with licorice, incense, graphite and mocha flavors fluttering in the background. Has an iron-clad structure, with a long finish that shows great cut and grip. Best from 2009 through 2025. 96 points from the Wine Spectator.

Which 2004 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Should I Open?

  • 2004 Beaucastel (48%, 19 Votes)
  • 2004 Clos des Papes (33%, 13 Votes)
  • 2004 Janasse Chaupin (20%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 40

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another. Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the September installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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