Dark ruby. Potent, mineral-accented blueberry, cherry compote and licorice aromas are complicated by suave floral and Asian spice qualities, picking up a cola note with air. Seamless, round and alluringly sweet, offering intense red and blue fruit preserve and floral pastille flavors and a touch of five-spice powder. Finishes sappy and extremely long, displaying velvety tannins and a late jolt of dark berry liqueur. (JR)
A candidate for the wine of the vintage, the 2014 Châteauneuf du Pape La Reserve is the classic 60/40 split of Grenache and Mourvèdre raised in demi-muids. It’s a more streamlined, elegant version of the cuvée, yet like the Les Quartz, has real density, as well as perfectly ripe tannin, tons of strawberry, vanilla and creamy licorice aroma and flavors, as well as a great finish. It too is ideal for drinking anytime over the coming 7-8 years, and given the high Mourvèdre content, I’m sure it will keep longer. The Vacheron family, along with winemaker Bruno Gaspard and assistant Aude Perche, as well as superstar Oenologist Philippe Cambie, continue to keep Domaine du Clos du Caillou one of the leading estates in Châteauneuf du Pape. These wines always show a more elegant, polished style, with plenty of fruit, yet have gorgeous Southern Rhône characters, sweet tannin and serious length. In addition, they fashion some of the most incredible Côtes du Rhônes out there. As to the vintages reviewed here, the 2014s are easily some of the wines of the vintage, showing tons of charm, incredibly sweet tannin and hard to resist characters. The 2015s are certainly a step up, but in a few cases I felt the wines were shifted too much towards the finesse-driven end of the spectrum and could have used a touch more density. Nevertheless, as the scores and notes show, these are killer wines I wish every Southern Rhône lover could try. (JD)
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