Wine: Ogier Les Closiers Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
Grapes: Grenache, syrah, cinsault, mourvedre blend
Region: Southern Rhone Valley, France
In the glass: Les Closiers CdP wine is a deep garnet-red color with an opaque core going out into a slightly tinged red rim definition with high viscosity.
On the nose: The wine bursts forth with a pretty aromatic mix of juice from assorted black berries, crushed red plums, black cherries, phenolics, spice components, juniper bush, oregano, herbs de Provence and references of wood and aniseed, with melted black licorice and earthy minerals underlying.
On the palate: There is tremendous richness upfront with lots of attractive crushed black fruits — especially plums, loganberries, elderberry fruit and sloe fruit — then comes spiced Morrello cherry juice, black tea, fig stew and licorice root. All this goes into the well-balanced midpalate, which also shows the serious structure in this wine, equaling out 14-plus percent alcohol with smooth tannins and tons of stewed fruit character. The finish lingers on the palate for a good 45-plus seconds with yet more herbs, pepper and star-anise infused gun powder tea.
Odds and ends: Situated between the cities of Orange and Avignon in southeastern France, the vineyards of Chateauneuf-du-Pape are characterized by excellent soils and an exceptional location. Founded in 1859, the Ogier wine company is in the largest and oldest cellars of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. During the 14th century, the wines of the region were used throughout the Catholic known world in sacramental rites. The wine is known for its quality and it rarely sells for less than $30, so at just less than $13, this is a fabulous addition to any summer dinner table, especially one that features flank steak. It should drink well through 2014.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89016-0749, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.