So I had my whole family up at the house for Easter weekend. This was a good, if stressful thing. But I'd planned out my meals and wines, so everything should have gone smoothly. But it did no such thing, at least on the wine front. I went to the liquor store on Saturday to buy a Chateauneuf du Pape and a Salice Salentino, and brought with me my younger brother, who is almost 26. The counter person stopped us to ask for ID...I had mine (I'm 30), but my brother had forgotten his. Mind you, I was buying $40 of wine (a $25 bottle and a $15 bottle), but this fact (viz. that I was not buying a quart of vodka or some other hard liquor) failed to impress the cashier and I had to go to a second rate wine store. I was furious. But this wine was the result.

It was a good wine, but based on the fact that it was a 1998 Rhone wine, and a not-inexpensive one to boot, it should have been better. The color was good, a rich, deep red, but the aroma was lacking in both strength and complexity. A little spice, a little smoke, and no more. The taste was pleasing, but (again) somewhat understated: the fruit was light and the tannins soft, but I expected to be bowled over. Chateauneuf du Pape wines from 1998 have been hailed for their richness and flavor, but this offering seemed to lean rather toward delicate then powerful. A cheaper, run of the mill Cotes du Rhone might have been a much better choice here, but what can you do?

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