Surprisingly, no classic cuvée was submitted, but both special cuvées showed brilliantly. I suspect this will be the best vintage to date for this family estate. For example, the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Renaissance (60/40 Grenache and Mourvèdre) is easily the finest vintage of this cuvée I’ve tasted and it’s loaded with awesome notes of cassis and blackberry fruit intermixed with notions of crushed flowers, cured meats and hints of vanilla bean. With full-bodied richness, gorgeous purity, a stacked mid-palate and building tannin, it’s going to need 4-5 years of cellaring but is sensational stuff.
The 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Renaissance (I tasted a prospective blend drawn from four demi-muids) shows some green, herbal notes from stem inclusion but also big, rich, lush fruit and a silky feel on the finish. It should drink well on release. At Domaine de Cristia, the estate has been certified organic since 2008, but now Baptiste Grangeon is changing up the winemaking. "The 2015 is the last year made the way I always did," he said. In 2016, he used more whole clusters and a touch of oak, looking for more complexity in his wines. Most of the domaine's wines are located in the lieu-dit Cristia, which has mainly sandy soils well suited to Grenache. Grangeon is also responsible for the winemaking of the Chapelle St. Theodoric wines, a joint venture with American importer Peter Weygandt. (JC)
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