Another best to date, the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Cuvée du Papet from Thierry Sabon is pure perfection in a glass. More powerful than the classic cuvée, with killer black raspberries, crushed rocks, garrigue, salty minerality, and iodine, it's deep, full-bodied, concentrated, and sexy, yet has building tannin. It's one of those “iron fist in a velvet glove” wines and continued to gain depth and richness every time I went back to the glass. Old-school, traditional Châteauneuf-du-Pape doesn’t get any better, and readers should beg, borrow or steal to get a hold of this. Hide bottles for 4-5 years (or more), count yourself lucky, and enjoy bottles over the following 2-3 decades. The domaine of Clos du Mont-Olivet is an undeniable reference point for ultra-traditional, age-worthy Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The estate has been firmly in the hands of Thierry Sabon since 2001, but the family history here goes back to 1932. They produce three Châteauneuf-du-Papes, the younger vine Le Petit Mont (not reviewed here), a traditional cuvée, and a flagship La Cuvée du Papet. Both cuvées are incredibly age-worthy wines, with the Cuvée du Papet made specifically to age, seeing older vines, no destemming, and brought up all in foudre. The 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Cuvée du Papet is unquestionably the greatest wine I’ve ever tasted from this estate and is a legendary wine in the making. Don’t miss it!
Deep bright-rimmed ruby. Sexy, spice-accented aromas of raspberry, cherry liqueur, incense and succulent flowers, joined by a smoky mineral element that builds in the glass. Deep-pitched yet lively red and dark berry liqueur flavors stain the palate and display superb clarity and minerally lift. Finishes with impressive nerviness and thrust; silky tannins frame the wine’s sweet fruit. (JR)
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