Imagine the convenience of someone delivering two cases of one very perfect red wine to your front door every year at the start of the holiday season. Not 100 point and $6,000 a case perfect, just perfectly versatile, delicious, and affordable red wine for all the usual and familiar holiday situations. Something to serve at oversubscribed holiday parties, a bottle you can be proud to wrap up as a last minute gift on your way to a friend’s house on Saturday night, a wine to uncork on a merry Tuesday night alone at home, or even something great to serve at your fancy holiday meals with friends or family. If you put me to that task this year, I would grant you two cases of ($20 ***1/2) 2009 Chateau Puech-Haut Prestige.
When you ask your local wine merchant for the wine, he might tell you how Robert Parker fell all over himself after tasting this wine, spewing mid 90 point scores he usually reserves for top Chateauneuf du Pape selling at 3X to 4X the price. But if you ask me, I would give you my own 3 reasons why a case or two of this Languedoc belongs in your cellar this December.
Delicious Versatile Wine
2009 Puech-Haut Prestige offers the best qualities of a Grenache dominant blend that marries significant Syrah componentry. It shows a deep garnet color, and gives the immediate impression of great volume and concentration on your palate. The deep Grenache fruit is unavoidably pure and rich, showcasing ripe black and red berry juice, while the Syrah integrates neatly inside the dense silk texture. Its rich mouthfeel is manageable, never becoming cloying or too heavy and balanced by great acidity that keeps the palate salivating despite the numbing richness. There are floral, berry, and perfumed aromas that make you want to dive into the glass of wine. The juice never touched wood, and the fact it was aged in concrete vessels contributes to the purity of the bold fruit flavor experience and its ability to work well both with food and alone. It is impossible to drink this wine under any condition without succumbing to its remarkable satisfaction quotient. With serious food the wine shows its elegance and in crowds, it’s satisfying in the most noticeable ways.
Great Wine Gift
Besides its gustatory pleasures, the wine makes a good gift. It has credentials and a story. First, it comes from a quaint French town in the southwest just outside Montpellier called Saint-Drézéry. The wine’s namesake means “hill” in honor of its foothills terroir. While it’s a decidedly modern chateau relying on modern wine making approaches with modern styled outcomes, the proprietor, Gerard Bru, has always employed blue chip consultants like Michelle Rolland, Claude Gros, and now Philippe Cambie. Bru used his spoils of industrial business success as a foundation to create Puech-Haut out of nothing, in a part of the Languedoc that showed promise but no history.
The wine comes in an extra heavy bottle, and adds to the impressiveness of its enjoyment and story.
I actually bought this wine for $17 on discount.. You can easily find the wine for $20, and if you cant, just click the wine-searcher link in the first paragraph. It’s another marvelous wine that Eric Solomon brings in under his European Importers label. While I am unsure of the total production, its availability is a strong bet considering European Cellars is involved and from my personal experience. While $20 might not feel like a value in the Languedoc, it most certainly is for a wine of this quality level. It is a not only a wine to enjoy today, but something that will most definitely tolerate 10-20 year of aging. Its hard to know how much better the drinking experience can get, but you can afford to make that gamble at $20 a throw.
2009 Chateau Puech-Haut Prestige is delicious, affordable, and gift worthy. Three perfect reasons to buy a case for now, and another for later.