The 2017 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Hautes Brusquieres Cuvee Speciale combines concentration with finesse and complexity in a way rarely seen in such an expansive, full-bodied wine (16% alcohol on the label). Notes of red raspberries and maraschino cherries lead the way, but they're supplemented by hints of garrigue, tea, roses and dried spices in this 60-40 blend of Grenache and Syrah. Mouthfilling and silky, it shows terrific length and hides the warmth that often plagues dry wines of this magnitude. Charbonniere typically bottled later than most estates, so this was a first look at the 2017s out of bottle. They're reassuringly excellent across the board. Despite alcohol levels that will surely frighten some drinkers, they carry the alcohol well, buffering it with ample dry extract, supple tannins and complex flavors. While some 2017s are a bit closed and tannic, these are gorgeous now. (JC)
Beautifully pure, detailed and fresh, red-fruit aromas with lightly toasty oak spice. There’s such finesse, power and centrally focused fruit on the palate here; the tannins work around the edge and the core is pristine.
Mesquite and cinnamon lend sweet, smoky accents to flavors of roasted plum and cherry compote in this powerhouse red. A densely concentrated blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah fermented and matured in large-format wood and stainless steel tanks, it's an opulent, undulating wine wrapped up in fine, sandpaper tannins. *Editor's Choice* (ACI)
Sleek and still tightly coiled, this has ample reserves of raspberry, cherry and plum pâte de fruit, along with enticing black tea, anise and apple wood accents. A suave wine, with latent minerality underscoring the finish. (JM)
From the northern part of the appellation and a mix of Grenache, Syrah, and Counoise, the 2017 Châteauneuf Du Pape Cuvée Speciale Les Hautes Brusquières boasts a saturated purple color as well as impressive, yet closed and tight notes of dark fruits, ground pepper, and garrigue. It opens up with time in the glass, is medium to full-bodied, has loads of structured, and is another seriously impressive wine from this estate. One of the finest run estates in Châteauneuf du Pape is the Maret family’s Domaine de la Charbonnière, which is in the heart of the appellation, just off the route to Courthezon. They produce four Châteauneuf du Pape (readers should read last year’s report on the 2016 and 2017s for a description of each of the cuvées), all meriting attention. In addition, they’ve added two new Vacqueyras releases, bringing the total from that appellation to three cuvées. The 2017s aren’t far off what was achieved in 2016, and the 2018s all showed beautifully, with more depth and richness that most in the vintage. 93+
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