I loved the 2015 Châteauneuf du Pape from Claire Michel and it’s a classic blend of 75% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre and 5% Cinsault, mostly from rolled stone terroirs, that was partially destemmed and brought up all in foudre. It’s a downright sexy, voluptuous 2015 offering textbook notes of kirsch liqueur, ground pepper, herbes de Provence, and incense. It picks up more dark fruit with time in the glass, is full-bodied, has plenty of fat and glycerin, and ample tannin, although they’re so polished you have to hunt for them. This gorgeous example of traditionally made Châteauneuf du Pape that’s going to drink beautifully for 15+ years.
Vivid ruby. Sexy, high-pitched red berry preserve, floral pastille and Asian spice aromas show outstanding clarity. Sappy, penetrating black raspberry, spicecake and licorice flavors gain weight with air and pick up suggestions of blood orange and smoky minerals. Shows impressive depth and polish, alluring sweetness and no rough edges. Showcases the best attributes of this warm vintage, finishing with silky, mounting tannins and lingering florality. (JR)
Rich and dark, with delicious, velvety layers of warm fig, black currant and blackberry confiture flecked with hints of ganache, roasted apple wood and tar. The finish has cut to match the heft. A real brick house. (JM)
These days, Vieux Donjon is one of the few estates in the region making only a single cuvée (Close des Papes is another). The 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape is a floral, violet-scented wine that's supple and ripe. Only medium to full-bodied, it showcases complex garrigue and licorice notes rather than oodles of red fruit and comes to a long, silky finish. (JC)
Crista (north), Moulin à Vent, Mourre de Gaud, Pied de Baud, Pied Long. 5% Cinsault, 75% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah. Partial whole bunch. Vinified in cement tank. Aged for 18 months in foudre. Tasted blind. Very dark healthy crimson. Lightly medicinal on the nose. Lots of energy here with big fruit impact and fine tannins. This should deliver. A confident, non-formulaic rendition. Long and spicy. Quite intense. 17.5/20 points (JR)
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2016 Raymond Usseglio "Cuvée Impériale - Vignes Centenaires" Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Pre-Arrival)