Cellar Management

Pick My Next Bottle – 2003 Châteauneuf-du-Pape

The November installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the the 2003 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. The winning bottle will be opened on Sunday and a Bottle Note will be published the following week.

2003 was, simply put, one of the hottest vintages on record in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The grapes had high sugar levels and low acidity. Robert Parker gave the vintage a conservative score of 90 points while the Wine Spectator weighed in at 93 points. Most of the wines were best consumed years ago but all the bottles below seem to be standing the test of time despite the conditions of the vintage.

The Contenders

  • 2003 Clos des Papes – A wine that was controversial with a lot of tasters on release (not for me), the 2003 Châteauneuf-du-Pape has been drinking beautifully for a number of years now. It’s showing classic sweet red fruits, spice box, and garrigue notes in an ethereal, pure, elegant style. It has the sweet fruit of the 2003 vintage but is classic Clos des Papes today. (08/18). 97 points from Jeb Dunnuck.
  • 2003 Domaine du Pegau – Starting with the 2003 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Reservée, this wine showed spectacularly on release, closed down for a few years, and has now emerged, at close to full maturity, and is straight-up fabulous. Out of the entire tasting, it remained my favorite. Giving up gorgeous blackberry, currants, garrigue, pepper and beef blood, it hits the palate with a massive, full-bodied texture that carries layers of sweet fruit, awesome concentration and blockbuster length. Tasting like the essence of both this estate and the terroir, it’s an incredible wine that I’m happy to taste/drink anytime. It will continue to evolve gracefully, but I see no reason to delay gratification. (08/14). 98 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2003 Clos Saint Jean Combe des Fous – A big, ripe and voluptuous effort, the 2003 Chateauneuf du Pape Combe des Fous is thrilling stuff that’s drinking beautifully. Incense, exotic pepper, cedar and spice are all supported by a ripe core of sweet kirsch and blackberry fruit. It’s full-bodied, rich, textured and voluptuous on the palate. Showing no signs of over-ripeness or astringency, with polished tannin and excellent mid-palate depth, it pumps out loads of fruit on the finish, and should be consumed over the coming handful of years… As to the Combe des Fous release, this cuvée comes from a single plot of vines and is based largely on Grenache, with roughly 20% Syrah and 10% each of Vaccarese and Cinsault in the blend. The Grenache is aged all in tank and the other components see time in mostly demi-muids. While the Deux ex Machina always impresses more with its overt power and muscle, this cuvee always seems more polished, fine and elegant to me. (08/14). 97 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which 2003 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Should I Open?

  • 2003 Clos des Papes (37%, 7 Votes)
  • 2003 Domaine du Pegau (37%, 7 Votes)
  • 2003 Clos Saint Jean Combe des Fous (26%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 19

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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 December Installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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5 thoughts on “Pick My Next Bottle – 2003 Châteauneuf-du-Pape

  1. been generally disappointed in my 2003 CDP options. in cellar which are 5 producers. Interested to see how this choice drinks!

  2. Tom, It was better younger. IMO. It didn’t manifest the 2003 heat so much upon release but didn’t evolve well for my tastes. I hadn’t tried a bottle for a long time. Mine were cellared here since release and changed from rather exotic to downright weird. Hope yours is better!

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