I apologize for being a bit late on my review but this wine was just too good. After a few sips I couldn't think or concentrate, all I wanted to do was relax, feel good and eat cheese. An old and amazing wine will do that to you; it's a high unlike that of mere alcohol. Drinking a bottle becomes a transcendent experience. After all you are imbibing something that has been sequestered in a bottle for years, maybe decades. It is happy to be out, I can only imagine. And like a red liquid genie it is there to grant you the three wishes one can only hope for in an evening: to be relaxed, to feel good and to have sweet dreams.

I love Châteauneuf-du-Pape. There, I said it. I've always thought it was the coolest of the high-end collectible French wines. The most rock-n-roll, if you will. It's not stuffy like Bordeaux, or snobby like Burgundy. It is its own beast. It comes in a thick dark bottle stamped with the medieval crest of “Châteauneuf-du-Pape.” It was in its origin the wine of the holiest of holy men of Europe. The wine that the Pope and his merry men would drink while vacationing in their “new house,” in the countryside of Southern France. It is sacred and holy, yet so decadent and sumptuous that it borders on the profane. It is a wine that can satisfy you with its scent alone, but after one sip you will want to dive into the glass, bathe in the aromas, drown in the flavors.

Château La Nerthe is one of the oldest estates in Châteauneuf-du-Pape dating back to the 12th century. The Cuvee des Cadettes is their top of the line bottling. I'd have to say it must be pretty amazing since this bottle came from the dubious 1997 vintage and it still rocked my world. In Châteauneuf they are allowed to use up to 13 different grapes in their blends, but the Cuvee des Cadettes is mostly Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre from very old vines. This is a beautiful wine. The bouquet is a hedonistic blend of cocoa, leather, dried fruit and caramel. The wine has a wonderfully silky mouthfeel with rich dark wild berry and coffee notes. The finish is long and luscious with a surprising bit of acidity. All in all, a fantastic bottle. A bottle worthy of what to me is the best band ever.

CHÂTEAU LA NERTHE "CUVEE DES CADETTES" CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE, 1997