Even and supple red to dark cherry and red plum fruits with a palate presence that has powerful ripe tannins that are presented in a smooth, balanced style. Extremely concentrated. This is terrific. Best from 2020.
A lovely licorice snap note leads off, followed quickly by crushed raspberry, blackberry and boysenberry fruit flavors. Rich yet restrained, with light shiso leaf, iron and incense details weaving throughout. The silky finish lets the fruit linger with a sustained hum. Grenache and Mourvèdre. Drink now through 2035.
Richer and more deeply textured than the other cuvées from Charbonnière, 90% of the 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Vieilles Vignes comes from 70- to 100-year-old Grenache vines in La Crau, supplemented by 10% Mourvèdre off 45-year-old vines. It has the same estate signature of red cherries and stone fruit, with just hints of spice on the long, velvety finish. The Maret family at Domaine de la Charbonnière is now into their fourth generation, as I met sisters Véronique and Caroline at the estate for a Sunday morning of tasting with their enology consultant, the ubiquitous Philippe Cambie. The estate now consists of 30 hectares in total, with 19.5 of them in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and six in Vacqueyras. Like many vignerons in the Southern Rhône, they are using whole clusters more and more, getting more complexity and freshness into the wines.(JC)
Lastly, and from the oldest vines of the estate and the La Crau plateau, the 2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes is the most structured and tannin in the line (which is common), yet is balanced, elegant and impeccably made. Black cherries, dried soils, dried herbs and savory spice characteristics give way to a medium to full-bodied, straight and focused Grenache that needs 3-4 years of bottle age, and will evolve gracefully for 10-15 years.
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