Domaine Paul Autard Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Cote Ronde 2006

Very dark ruby-purple color; black cherry, raspberry, lavender, earth on the nose; ripe black cherry, black currant, spice box, smoke, pepper, pinch of plum on the palate;

tasteful hints of oak, tannins mellow with air, nice acidity, very concentrated flavors, made in fruit-forward, modern style. Blend of 50% grenache and 50% syrah, aged 16 months in barrels. This vintage received some aging in “barrique” French oak barrels—a type of barrel most associated with Bordeaux. Barrique only refers to size; they are relatively smaller and taller with a capacity of 59 gallons. A Burgundian barrel is slightly larger and fatter (60 gallons), while a hogshead is significantly larger (79 gallons). Oak barrels allow evaporation and oxygenation to occur, which concentrates flavors while imparting oak flavor elements. A barrique looses about 6 gallons of its contents (mostly alcohol and water) each year. A barrique gives greater exposure of wine to the barrel than other choices; French oak imparts more subtle flavors than American oak in a more restrained way, so this is no oak monster, but oak is tastefully there. The finish is nicely prolonged, with a touch of tannic bite that is intriguing rather than annoying. Paul Autard took over management of his family’s domaine at age 17. He defines a great Châteauneuf-du-Pape as: “Intense and potent on the one hand; elegant and refined on the other. Somehow it has to deliver these complementary qualities, which together explain why the pleasure deepens as it lingers on the palate.” Autard hits his mark with this outstanding offering for the price. $36-46
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Second photo: Chateauneuf-du-Pape village with the “New Castle of the Pope” (Chateauneuf-du-Pape)
Domaine Paul Autard Chateauneuf-du-PapeChateauneuf-du-Pape village