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Senior editor and tasting director Bruce Sanderson joined Wine Spectator in 1993. His tasting beats are Burgundy, Italy and Germany.
Bruce Sanderson

A Châteauneuf, and a Nightmare, to Remember

Domaine de la Janasse Châteauneuf-du-Pape Chaupin 1998

Bruce Sanderson
Posted: November 11, 2011

A few weeks ago, just in time for our first winter storm, LG, myself and another couple spent the weekend in Woodstock to attend Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble (aka “Nightmare on Helm Street” to commemorate Halloween).

We brought food to cook and of course a few bottles of good wine. Included in my six-pack was my last bottle of Domaine de la Janasse Châteauneuf-du-Pape Chaupin 1998. We enjoyed it with grilled lamb loin chops, spicy merguez sausage, ratatouille, cous cous and salad.

The bouquet started off with a whiff of rubber, not uncommon in some Châteauneufs, gaining floral, fruitcake and plum together with a meaty richness. Raspberry, dried cherry and spice flavors were focused by bright acidity and the velvety texture enhanced the overall harmony of the wine. Its finish was long and expansive (94 points, non-blind). What I particularly enjoyed was the vibrant quality that gave this ’98 a sense of elegance. It was terrific with the chops.

We arrived at the show to discover that there was no power, so it was an all-acoustic set. This made it a challenge for the musicians, but they pulled it off, making “Nightmare on Helm Street” a night to remember.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review and see the 10-year restrospective review for Domaine de la Janasse Châteauneuf-du-Pape Chaupin 1998 (93 points, $40 on release).

• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Châteauneuf-du-Papes.

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