Vivid ruby. Exotic, expansive aromas of fresh red and dark berries, incense, anise and garrigue. Deep, sappy black raspberry and boysenberry flavors show excellent clarity, with a hint of spicecake building in the glass. Nicely balances power and finesse and shows outstanding vivacity. A smoky mineral note adds lift and cut to the long, fruit-driven finish, which shows just a hint of silky tannins. (JR)
A classic wine from this estate, the 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape has beautiful kirsch, roasted meat, ground pepper and assorted wild herbs and lavender aromatics, medium to full-bodied richness, and a tight, structured and nicely concentrated palate. Give it 2-3 years and enjoy bottles through 2024. Another bastion of traditional Châteauneuf du Papes, Le Vieux Donjon is run by the talented Claire Michel. She produces a single cuvee that’s always a rough blend of 70-75% Grenache and the rest Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault. It’s partial destemming and aging occurs all in old foudre. Classic, Provençal, old-school and high-quality are the buzzwords here. (JD)
Lucian and Marie José Michel make just one red Châteauneuf, a grenache-heavy wine off 60-year-old vines. Vinified in cement and aged in neutral oak, the 2012 is immediately winning in its violet and spice scents, as well as its saturated, juicy red raspberry fruit. There’s a steaky substance to it, an element that suggests this will last well in the cellar over the next ten years, but it’s undeniably delicious right now.
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