When one comes across a wine like this in a blind tasting, it's human nature to second-guess the initial reaction. Yet every time I went back to the wine that turned out to be the Brunels' 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Centenaire, I came away astounded by its complexity and balance. Yes, it's full-bodied, but it's also light on its feet, a lithe vinous gymnast, wiry and strong yet graceful and loaded with nuance. The soaring aromas and flavors range from raspberries and cherries through to roses, black tea, thyme and lavender in this incredible wine. I suspect it will rival the legendary 1990 and 1998 versions. (JC)
The 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Centenaire comes exclusively from the northern part of the Farguerol lieu-dit and is just about 100% Grenache that was partially destemmed and brought up in concrete (70%) and demi-muids (30%). It's a thrilling wine that's behind the otherworldly 1990 and 1998 but is in the same league as the 2007 and 2010. With a massive bouquet of kirsch liqueur, crushed flowers, violets, and honeysuckle, it has full body, no hard edges, beautiful purity of fruit, ripe, polished tannin, and a great finish.
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