I was also able to taste the 2016 Châteauneuf Du Pape Cuvée Da Capo, which comes mostly from older vines in the La Crau lieu-dit and spends an additional year in a large foudre. The 2016 vintage was truly magical for the region, and this Cuvée Da Capo is unquestionably one of the finest vintages for this cuvée ever made, in the same league as, if not surpassing, the 1998, 2003, 2007, and 2010. Sensational notes of cured meats, crème de cassis, crushed violets, ground pepper, tapenade, truffle, and sweet herbes de Provence all soar from the glass and it hits the palate with a massive, full-bodied style that stays seamless, weightless, and as pure as they come. Traditional, classic Châteauneuf Du Pape doesn’t get better. I hate to be the guy who throws out the “best to date” line very often, but this is truly magical stuff.
As impressive as the Cuvée Réservée is, the 2016 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée da Capo brings an extra level of intensity. Turn that volume up to 11 or even 12. Waves of black cherries, plums and chocolate wash across the full-bodied, velvety palate, lingering nearly forever on the finish. As big and bold as it is, it remains breathtakingly elegant and fine. It should evolve gracefully through at least 2040.
Black-cherry and plum flavors are ripe but pertly balanced in this Grenache blend. It's spicy and intensely aromatic, wafting of cloves, allspice and caramel, yet revitalizing and mineral too. The finish is endlessly long, fringed by fine, taut tannins. It's stunning now but should improve through 2036 and hold further still. *Cellar Selection* (AI)
All 13 varieties have been used from lieux-dits La Crau, Les Escondudes and Mont Pertuis, with no destemming. There's some complexity and interest on the nose already, with aromas of violets, blueberries, raspberries and a touch of tobacco leaf. The wine is medium to full-bodied, but without any heaviness, with sublime freshness and piercing acidity. This has real life, and a lightness of touch which delivers real drinkability. Very fine, abundant ripe tannins work like a lattice through the fruit. The fairly raised levels of alcohol don't give a sense of imbalance in the wine, and it finishes on a lifted note. The best Da Capo in a long time. Real elegance. Drinking Window 2020 - 2036. (MW)
Vivid ruby. Intensely perfumed dark berry, cherry preserve and licorice aromas are complemented by hints of game, exotic spices and candied lavender. Deep, sweet and expansive on the palate, offering densely packed raspberry, cola and floral pastille flavors and a strong suggestion of spicecake. Shows superb clarity and power on a ridiculously long, sappy finish that eventually leaves behind cherry liqueur and bitter chocolate notes. (JR)
This is richly fruited, with succulent plum, boysenberry and fig preserve flavors that are seamlessly layered and laced with warm anise, black tea and smoldering tobacco notes. The long finish features well-embedded chalky grip that gives this cut to match the lush fruit. A beauty. Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. (JM)
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