Whether you're Roman Catholic or not, investigating the history of the papacy can be quite fascinating. For instance, how many of you know that during the 14th Century the Holy See (the crib where the Pope and his homies hang) was relocated to Avignon, France where it remained for almost 70 years? (This region didn't even become part of France permanently until the 19th century, but that's another story.) To protect their investment, said popes constructed a massive fortified castle on a rocky outcrop, which became known as Chateauneuf-du-Pape (the Pope's little castle). Seven popes in all ruled from this roost and developed a thirst for the grape, so a local appelation sprang up nearby to meet their vino needs. French mega-producers Barton & Guestier carry on this tradition today by offering their Chateauneuf-du-Pape, a splendid tribute to the trials and tribulations of so long ago.
The robe of B&G Chateauneuf-du-Pape is a rich magenta, clearly indicating both it's fruitiness and approachability. The nose displays kirsch, leather, and licorice, and of course, minerals (pebbles, in this case). Since this wine is made from Grenache and Syrah, don't be surprised by it's raspberry taste on the palate, with a nice touch of spice, and even a little tobacco. The usual pairings of a du-Pape are wild game and prime rib, but it's fruit-forwardness makes it an approachable accompanist to shellfish, tuna and spicy chicken as well. The website is www.barton-guestier.com and can be read in English. Look for the distinctive gold label on the next trip to your local wine shop, and remember:
LIFE IS TOO SHORT FOR MEDIOCRE FOOD!!!