Moving to the 2018s, all of which were tasted from bottle, the 2018 Châteauneuf du Pape reveals a ruby/purple hue and is slightly opaque. Based on 85% Grenache and 5% each of Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault, it offers a gorgeous perfume of black raspberries, herbes de Provence, ground pepper, candied orange, and a touch of spiced meat. Pure class on the palate, with medium to full-bodied richness and ultra-fine tannins, it has terrific balance, a layered, elegant mouthfeel, and a great finish. This is one thrilling base cuvee to enjoy over the coming decade or more.
Ripe and juicy, this is a well-built version offering up a range of enticing black cherry, plum and fig fruit flavors while singed alder, garrigue and dried lavender notes chime throughout. Ample fruit on the finish with a savory streak providing a nice counterpoint. (JM)
The 2018 Chateauneuf du Pape is a terrific effort from this variable vintage, loaded with rich, ripe flavors of red and purple raspberries, black cherries and oodles of Provençal herbs. It's full-bodied and nearly creamy in texture, with silky tannins that make a subtle appearance on the licorice-tinged finish. Looking even more concentrated and structured than last year, it should drink well for at least a decade. While well-heeled consumers fight over the limited volumes of the super 2018 Collection Charles Giraud and Reserve Auguste Favier, the smart money will be chasing the regular bottlings of red and white Châteauneuf du Pape. The 2019 Côtes du Rhône Beatus Ille is almost as good, and it retails around $20—an even better bargain. (JC)
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