The 2000 Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes is even better, with another layer of texture and depth. Chocolate-laced fruits, cured meats, spice, crushed rock and sweet spice all show from this perfumed, up-front, sweetly fruited Chateauneuf, and it still has a core of concentrated fruit and solid tannin structure. I see no reason to hold off, but it too will thrill over the coming 3-5 years. One of the benchmark estates in the Rhone Valley, Domaine de la Janasse is run by the talented brother/sister pair of Christophe and Isabelle Sabon. Located in the northeastern portion of the region, near Courthezon, they produce an incredible range of wines, from their Vin de Pays, to their Cotes du Rones and world-class Chateauneuf du Papes, all of which are noteworthy. For this tasting, we started with the 1990s and went up through their 2007s. At this point, the ‘98s through the 2004s are all in varying degrees of full maturity, and drinking brilliantly. In addition, it’s also worth pointing out that these wines have the fruit and texture to dish out immense pleasure in their youth, so don’t be afraid to crack these new releases either. Both of the 1999s were drinking beautifully, and are up near the top of the vintage. Moving to the 2000s, I found that from this point forward, the wines started to show more freshness and vibrancy. Looking specifically at this vintage, these are still mature wines, yet they’re drinking beautifully. (JD)
Dark red-ruby. Distinct surmaturite on the nose: roasted red fruits, roasted herbs, chocolate, earth and minerals. Lush, sweet and layered, with classic superripe grenache flavors of chocolate and spice cake. Very smooth wine, finishing with toothcoating tannins and the quintessential warmth of a wine from the South. "In an outstanding vintage like 2000, I tried to preserve freshness of fruit and finesse, and thus did not try to do a big extraction," noted Sabon.
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