From time to time we get asked for a white Chateauneuf, it isn’t very often but it’s a useful thing to have on the shelf as a premium white wine that isn’t made from Chardonnay but that is still French. This is where Rhone whites can really do well in the market place, people expect to pay good money for names like Chateauneuf or Hermitage and they have names people have heard of, so getting them to pay a decent price for the white is relatively easy too.
We haven’t had one for some time though, the issue has been finding one that is both good enough but also not too expensive – somewhere between £20 and £30 was what we were looking for, and I spotted this on an importers list recently and so asked for a sample to be sent in. It arrived on the same day that someone I know a tiny little bit in the trade was looking for a bottle – and couldn’t find one – surely another reason to have some bottles about the place.
This particular wine comes from a good estate that is small and not that well known, and is a blend of 40% Grenache Blanc, 40% Rousanne and 20% Clairette (there may well be some Bourboulenc in there too) and comes from a plateau to the north of the appellation which are then vinified in 25% new oak (French of course!)
Domaine de la Charbonniere Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc 2011
A complex nose of pear, peach with some nutty and floral notes, quite concentrated and showing honey nuts and fresh fruit. Focussed long on the finish. Quite powerful and not necessarily the most elegant but a good mouthful of full bodied fruit.