A prodigious effort, the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Hautes Brusquieres Cuvee Speciale was yet to be bottled during my June visit. It offers up sweet floral aromas, hints of thyme and rosemary and bold cherry fruit. Full-bodied and creamy-velvety in texture, it's a hugely seductive mouthful of wine that I found difficult to spit. If it emerges from the bottling process looking like this, buyers will have huge smiles on their faces. (JC)
Blackberries, crushed rocks, peppery herbs, and graphite notes all emerge from the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Hautes Brusquières, the most concentrated, rich, and opulent in the lineup. It has brilliant purity of fruit, ripe, polished tannins, and a great, great finish, all making for a brilliant 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape that will keep for 15+ years. This fantastic, family-run estate is now firmly in the hands of sisters Caroline and Veronique Maret, yet they continue to receive help from their parents Mireille and Michel Maret and consultant Philippe Cambie. Looking at their Châteauneuf-du-Pape releases, they produce four cuvées: the Tradition, Mourre des Perdrix, Vieilles Vignes, and the Les Hautes Brusquières. The traditional cuvée comes from all the estate’s holdings and is typically a blend of 70% Grenache and 15% each of Syrah and Mourvèdre. It’s mostly destemmed and brought up in older barrels and stainless steel. It’s certain a terrific introduction into the style of the estate. The Mourre des Perdrix comes from more sandy soils just behind the estate and is the same blend as the classic cuvée. This cuvée is always the most seamless and elegant in the lineup. The Vieilles Vignes comes from the oldest vines of the estate and the pebbly soils of the La Crau lieu-dit. Based on 95% Grenache or more, with the balance Mourvèdre, it’s always the most structured, tannic, and masculine of the three special cuvées. Lastly, the Les Hautes Brusquières comes from the Brusquières
This opulent blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah offers rich, luscious plum and cherry flavors. Although rounded and creamy on the palate, it avoids feeling dense or heavy. Ripe, integrated tannins and whispers of garrigue and violet extend the finish. While enjoyable already for its forward fruit, it should gain savory complexities through 2036 and hold further. (AI)
This sports the dark and intense fruit of the vintage's overall profile, with a range of black currant, fig and boysenberry pâte de fruit notes that meld with flavors of licorice snap, fruitcake, singed mesquite and smoldering black tea. The long finish is well-structured and focused, infused with a perfume that lingers beautifully.
Incredible depth and power here. This is saturated with ripe, black fruit and sealed up with some spicy, attractive oak. The brambly palate is powerful, concentrated and fresh. Top Châteauneuf here.
Vivid magenta. Lively, spice-accented raspberry and cherry aromas are complicated by building lavender and spice qualities, and a hint of garrigue emerges with air. Seamless and alluringly sweet, offering juicy, mineral-laced red and blue fruit preserve and floral pastille flavors and a hint of star anise. Closes sappy and impressively long, displaying harmonious tannins and insistent florality. (JR)
A lovely nose with a distinctly herbal bitters vein running through the dark brambly fruits. Soft, svelte and yielding on the palate, the tannins have mass but are very ripe, just about balancing the high acidity and punchy alcohol. The most successful of Charbonnière's wines this year, and like all of them it will take a long time to come round, but should reward patience. (MW)
Leather, liquorice, gorgeous black and red bramble stew and a touch of garrigue too. Fine tannic grain, powerful body but pert acidic refreshment too. Excellent poise, and power without exaggeration. 17.5/20 points. (RH)
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