HWI’s First “Official” Review



25 years in the wine business now find me authoring a blog about wine from a very different angle.  I’ve been writing for more than a decade, as authoring prose represented my most successful means of marketing to my customers.  Now, however, I’ve become a sort of consumer’s proponent; I’m now reviewing wine, local wine shops, wine-bars and the such, and reporting my findings here at my blog in my efforts to bring the good people of Houston Texas a taste of the finer things in life. 

Today marks the first day that a review has been offered in these pages exclusively from this “non retailer” perspective.  I am not selling the wines reviewed here.  I take no monies for any wine that you may wish to acquire as a result of reading these pages.  And, at least so far, I purchase every wine I review (if at any time I receive samples for review, I WILL disclose that fact). 

My reviews are based on knowledge gained over the course of more than 25 years in the fine wine business.  My scoring is conservative and based on the well-recognized 100 point system.  Following my score, I will translate for the reader what those points mean to me as the author. 

But it is the words in the review that express my truest feelings on each wine I review.

One more thing: life is too short to review bad wine.  If I feel a wine is not worth at least 85 points, I simply won’t publish a review.

2006 Domaine Berthet-Rayne Chateauneuf du Pape

Christian Berthet-Rayne
60 % Grenache, 20 % Mourvèdre, 10 % Cinsault, 10 % Syrah Dry Red Table Wine
Chateauneuf du Pape, Southern Rhone, Rhone, France

Review by Christopher Massie
Wine Idealist #1, (March 2009)
Rating: 89
“An EXCELLENT wine with all the qualities expected of a near-outstanding rated wine.”
Drink: 2009 – 2014+
Best possible price located as of this review: $22*


  “Beautiful ruby red, shimmering color that offers brilliance yet is in no way opaque; this signals a purity to the wine-making.  Produced from certified ecologically grown grapes, from this estate that is working towards their organic certification through the “NOP”, and also an estate that is certified “Agriculture Biologique”, I find an aromatic display here that is quite impressive.  This striking display of power allied to the classics speaks volumes to the ability to produce extremely hi-quality CDP while adhering to a totally organic way of life.

    Combining in its aromatic profile nuances of richly ripe fruit (plum, blackberry and mulberry), deep minerality and a sexy, alluring backdrop of garrigue, this nose just begs for minutes of consideration.  Once on the palate, the sweet fruit is joined by crisp acidity that enlivens the wine and awakens the tongue, leaving the palate freshened and ready for another go. 

     The body of the wine is medium full, and the texture is gripping, with outstanding balance of tannin to fruit.  This is not a wine for decades in the cellar, and this is also not a wine that requires loads of introspection.  This wine revealed itself and was totally engaging within less than a half hour, indicating an introductory style of wine from this appellation.  Yet its absolutely alluring flavors will make many, many friends.

    As I sip this wine, composing my notes, the slight warmth of alcohol experienced in the first glass dissipates, indicating a wine that could benefit from perhaps 1 year in the cellar, but I truly don’t find that necessary.  Simply open the wine, pour a glass, allow that glass to rest for a few minutes, and enjoy the wine – remembering to consume this delicious Grenache at about 55-60 degrees for the best results.”
— Christopher Massie

*for information on acquiring this wine, at the price I’ve located it for, e*mail me: chambertin@sbcglobal.net

All the best in wine and life,

Christopher Massie
Diplome D’Honneur de Sommelier