Deep red. Tightly wound cherry and red berry aromas are slow to unfold, eventually picking up hints of garrigue and cracked pepper. Tangy and focused on the palate, showing good depth to its bitter cherry and rhubarb flavors. Dusty tannins firm the finish, which features notes of succulent herbs and cherry pit.
The 2011 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvee Marie Beurrier is similar in style, yet just a touch more reserved and tight, with a more serious feel in its black cherry, saddle leather, pepper and meaty bouquet. Medium-bodied to full-bodied, nicely balanced and fresh, it seems much more reserved than I recall from last year, but possibly it’s just due to following the much more open, sexy, classic cuvée. With the recent passing of Henri Bonneau early in 2016, this iconic estate is at a crossroads. The winemaking is now in the hands of Henri’s son, Marcel Bonneau, and while he’s worked side by side with Henri for most of his life, it remains to be seen if he can follow in his father’s footsteps. He’s getting advice and support from a number of incredibly talented people and I’m optimistic, and certainly wishing him the best going forward. During my annual visit, I was able to taste barrel samples from 2015 back to 2011, as well as a bottle of the 1998. I purchased a bottle of the current 2009 Reserve Célestins locally to include as well.
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