The 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape Barbe Rac, which comes from the western part of the appellation from a vineyard planted in 1901 and 1902, is, like the Croix de Bois, 100% Grenache aged totally in cement tanks. It boasts a dense purple color along with a sumptuous nose of black raspberries, black currants, incense, camphor, licorice, and garrigue. Full-bodied, voluptuously-textured, exuberant, rich, and pure with stunning depth and concentration, it can be drunk young or cellared for 15-20 years. Chapoutier’s holdings in Chateauneuf du Pape continue to grow as he purchased the Bois Dauphin estate recently. He now owns 100 acres (all planted with Grenache) in the appellation (all of them biodynamically farmed). Michel Chapoutier fashions some terrific low-end wines that sell for a song, and in 2007, they are of exceptionally high quality. The handful of 2008s I tasted also look very good for the vintage. These are sleeper selections, especially his La Ciboise and Estubiers from the Coteaux du Tricastin. (RP)
*** Highly Recommended *** This belies the lush fruit of the vintage—for now. Supersilky and perfumy, delivering gorgeous blackberry, Lapsang souchong tea, sandalwood and shiso leaf notes that all glide along fine-grained tannins, with a core of dark plum and blackberry fruit in reserve. Seamless and pure. Should blossom in the cellar. Best from 2012 through 2025. (JM)
Bright ruby. Seductive bouquet of ripe red berries, roasted herbs and potpourri. Fleshy and deeply concentrated, offering slightly warm raspberry and cherry compote flavors with a hint of smoke. Creamy on the finish, delivering a serious wallop of rich red fruit and a bit of heat. Impressive for its power but this will be a tough match at the table. (JR)
Even deeper crimson. Meatier, more claret-like than the Croix du Bois 2007. Very intense and serious – a Châteauneuf that almost manages to finish dry! Very well judged tannins, masses of alcohol but overall savoury as well as spicy. More obviously dry fruit (thicker skins) than the Croix du Bois. A massive wine that will repay waiting. 18.5/20 Points
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