Some great wines are like great people: intense, powerful, forbidding until you prove your worth by waiting for them, and if you approach them inopportunely you know it. Cristia’s Châteauneuf is gracious and welcoming no matter when you show up, approachable even in its youth, no less great for being accessible. Easy to drink, it’s also an easy wine in which to see the workings of the blender’s art so essential to Châteauneuf. Three noble grapes – Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre – each bring something distinct to the profile. Grenache, generous and giving, full of fruit as a cornucopia, provides the welcoming softness and ease, with blackberry and boysenberry fruit, and also a touch of red-fruit acidity that comes of the vines’ northeast exposition. Syrah, tense and tightly-wound in its youth (just ask any lover of Cornas), brings structure, firm and angular tannins, savory spice and pepper, while rich, thick-skinned Mourvèdre adds black plum and cherry fruit, baking spice, and firm but somewhat rounder tannins. Together they give a wine drinkable from its easy youth to its magnificent old age.
Pairing: Made to accompany rich, full dishes, it will pair well with barbecued beef, braised leg of lamb, or roast venison.
VARIETY: GRENACHE, SYRAH, MOURVEDRE
REGION: Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, FRANCE