Have you ever seen a magnum of Chateauneuf du Pape wine?
Chateauneuf-du-Pape is a classic, usually red wine found in the south of Rhône region in southeastern France. It is a blend of up to fourteen grape varieties, many of which are hardly memorable on their own, but come together in an unforgettable wine. Flavors include tar, leather, and stone, perhaps not surprising considering that the distinctive fields where the Chateauneuf-du-Pape grapes grow are covered of stones deposited by glaciers. Suggested food pairings include Barbequed Beef Ribs, Game, Steak, Leg of Lamb, Roast Duck, and Aged Cheddar Cheese.
I find it hard to believe but have seen advertisements for Chateauneuf du Pape at well under $20. Usually you will have to pay about $25-$30 and up. Should you be interested, and willing to pay a premium, Chapoutier produces a biodynamic version for about $45. This is a complex wine with cassis, prune, herb, and chocolate aromas that tastes of cherry and licorice as well. The Domaine de Marcoux in the same range has blackberry and black currant aromas and tastes of cherry liqueur, dried herbs, smoke, and licorice. You can age this wine for a decade. Chateau de Beaucastel produces organic Chateauneuf du Pape costing about $100. The tastes are many and you can age it for a generation, should you so desire. Even if you don't believe in organic wine this is a real winner.
Chateauneuf du Pape wine is usually fairly expensive. If you can find a Root:1 from Chile go for it. The last I heard this great wine was going for $12. I wonder if the 1 in its name has anything to do with Opus 1, the world famous California wine created in a joint venture between Baron Philippe de ROthschild and Robert Mondavi starting in the $200 range. Be warned Opus I is not pure Cabernet Suavignon but includes other red Bordeaux varieties such as Cabernet Franc and Merlot. If you are planning to spend that kind of money you may prefer the Sassicaia Italian (Super Tuscan) which is pure Chateauneuf du Pape. For those of you who like me consider a splurge in the mid-thirty dollar range, the Napa Valley Clos Pegase is a fine option.