Marked by aromas of resinous herbs, roses and raspberries, the 2018 Chateauneuf du Pape Le Pied de Baud is an enthralling blend of 80% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre and 5% Cinsault from the Le Pied de Baud lieu-dit, in the south of the appellation. Raspberries, strawberries and redcurrants all make appearances, supported by crisp acids and silky, just-ripe tannins. Young Benjamin Gras is looking for tension in his wines, and this wine captures that elusive quality, lingering tautly on the mouthwatering finish. This prominent Gigondas estate owns several small parcels in Chateauneuf du Pape, three of which are bottled separately. Young Benjamin Gras believes in a lengthy elevage, so this was a first chance to see the 2017s out of bottle, as well as the newly bottled 2018s. Unfortunately, there was no 2018 La Crau Ouest produced (mildew). (JC)
Heady notes of violet candy and crème de cassis introduce this perfumed red sourced from a lieu-dit coplanted with Grenache, Mourvédre and Cinsault. Red-cherry and plum flavors are sun-drenched but pure, etched by crystalline veins of salt and crushed stone. It’s delicious young but should improve through 2030 and hold longer still. Made from organic grapes. (AI)
Similarly colored, the 2018 Châteauneuf Du Pape Le Pied De Baud is also an incredibly floral and perfumed 2018 that has a beautiful perfume of wild strawberry (and some blue fruits as well) fruits interwoven with lots of violets, candied orange, and spring flower notes. Some cedary, peppery notes develop with time in the glass, and it’s medium-bodied, has nicely integrated acidity, polished tannins, and a great finish. It’s very much in the charming, upfront, and fruit loaded style of the vintage and is already impossible to resist. I suspect it should be drunk in its first 10 to 15 years of life. The young yet obviously talented Benjamin Gras continues to make an elegant, beautifully balanced style of wine from this benchmark estate in Gigondas, which now also produces a handful of terrific Châteauneuf du Pape. He’s made the most of the 2018 vintage, and these are impressive wines.
A bright, fresh style, with lots of floral lift to the mix of cherry and damson plum fruit flavors, while light mineral, shiso leaf and savory hints dot the finish. Best from 2022 through 2035.
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