Back when Châteauneuf-du-Pape was more affordable, I bought a case of St.- Préfert's Charles Giraud cuvée from 2004, the second vintage from Isabel Ferrando's domaine. The wine, for which I paid $40 a bottle, is a blend of 60 percent Grenache and 40 percent Mourvèdre, the latter giving it some meaty heft and structure.
The richness of Grenache and the power of Mourvèdre is tempered by the elegant, balanced 2004 vintage. This wine is also transitioning from its flush of youth into a more subtle, complex mix of dried cherry, garrigue and spice aromas and flavors. Though elegant, it still has the grip of some dusty tannins on the back end that should soften over the next 10 years. I rated it 92 points, non-blind.
I was at my colleague Kim Marcus's house for a good spring meal of grilled beef, lamb and salmon, accompanied by grilled vegetables and a salad fresh from the garden. The St.-Préfert was ideal after a 2005 Douro dry red with its peppery Touriga Nacional character.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Domaine St.-Préfert Châteauneuf-du-Pape Collection Charles Giraud 2004 (93, $55).