And a candidate for the wine of the vintage, the 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes is always a rough blend of 85% Grenache and the balance Syrah, Mourvedre, Clairette and other permitted varieties, that has the Grenache aged all in foudre and the Syrah and Mourvedre aged in one-third new barrels (that’s less than 6% of the blend in new barrels). Exhibiting gorgeous black fruits, spice-box, toast, licorice and roasted meat-like qualities on the nose, it is full-bodied, concentrated and layered on the palate, with loads of texture, yet delivers no weight, heat, or ever puts a foot wrong. Shockingly good in the vintage, it should not be missed. Hats off to Christophe and Isabelle. (JD)
Bright purple. Dark fruit liqueur, star anise, cinnamon and licorice aromas are sharpened by a lively mineral quality and a touch of white pepper. Sappy, sweet and incisive, with a suave blend of power and vivacity to its blackcurrant and mulberry flavors. Juicy acidity gives focus to the finish, which features velvety tannins, a touch of smokiness and outstanding energy.
Very solid for the vintage, with ripe, fleshy layers of plum compote, raspberry preserves and blackberry pâte de fruit. Lots of anise and graphite line the finish, with ample depth in reserve.
Dark crimson. A certain amount of brooding fruit suggests this wine has somewhere to go. Very sweet and round but with tannins lurking underneath. Lots there, including ambition. Some tension at last.
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