Even better (although in a very different style), the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes comes all from very old Grenache vines planted all in sandy soils. This behemoth offers awesome notes of blueberries, plums, violets and spring flowers, with hints of sandy/loamy/soil notes developing with time in the glass. Full-bodied, fat, unctuous and hedonistic, it stays balanced lively and fresh on the palate, with no weight. Sign me up.
I didn't taste the straight Chateauneuf du Pape from 2016, but the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes certainly looked special out of a one-year-old demi-muid. It's a big, plush, dark-fruited wine, with some chocolate notes and a velvety feel. 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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2016 Raymond Usseglio "Cuvée Impériale - Vignes Centenaires" Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Pre-Arrival)