Kicking off a series of wines that I consider to be as good as it gets, the 2005 Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve incorporates slightly more Grenache than normal and checks in at over 16% alcohol; certainly you’d never know it by tasting it however, and it’s perfectly balanced. Still inky purple in color, it possesses beautiful freshness and focus, with killer notes of blackcurrants, liquid violets, licorice, crushed rock and cured meats all soaring from the glass. As with the ’09 and ’06, it has off-the-charts concentration, thrilling mid-palate depth and serious structure. Give it another handful of years and it will be one of the longest lived Chateauneufs out there. (JD)
Quite lush for a 2005, with rich, forward raspberry and boysenberry fruit layered with mocha, fruitcake and Christmas pudding notes. Intense graphite underpinning keeps it all honest. The superlong finish is loaded with raspberry ganache and Turkish coffee notes. Just grows and grows in the glass. Grenache and Syrah. Best from 2009 through 2029. 250 cases made. (JM)
Inky violet. Extremely fragrant bouquet offers a potent mix of dark berries, kirsch, licorice and pungent herbs, with a strong mineral undercurrent. Deep, impressively concentrated cassis and candied cherry flavors are framed by big, velvety tannins, picking up mocha and black cardamom on the finish. Boasts great sweetness but no overripe character. Pretty stunning stuff. (JR)
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