My friend Michael invited me over for dinner. Grilled some lamb with a Provençal mix of potatoes, olives, roasted peppers and tomato. The Châteuneuf was a good match, the Barolo not as much.
1998 Janasse Châteuneuf-du-Pâpe Vielles Vignes
I liked this more than I expected. The wine was incredibly rich and dense with lots of compote fruit that seemed to stick to the inside of the mouth. There were some complimentary garrigue components, but the main sensation and flavors were jammy fruit notes. Although seemingly balanced, it was not a delicate sort of balance, more like two Greco wrestlers pushing for position. The alcohol grew a bit tiring for me, but the first glass did go well with the food.
2004 Roagna Barolo Rionda
I know, I know, infanticide, blah blah blah. I wanted to check this out as a young wine to see the structure of it so that I can understand it as it ages. This is a new vineyard for Luca and co. and it is one of the great vineyards, if not THE great vineyard, of Barolo. It is more open than one might expect. This displayed a really distinct and piercing note of fennel/anise. While more lush than I would have expected, it does have some tannin buried underneath that came out more as the evening wore on. Not nearly as strict as the Roca et Pira bottling from Roagna. My guess is that this will drink well on the early side. Maybe 6-8 years, but with continued development for a good long while.