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2003 Rayas CDP

2003 Rayas CDP

97 RP-HG

From the critics:

95 RP

94 JD

93 WS

Critic Reviews

The 2003 Rayas Chateauneuf du Pape has gone from strength to strength and now looks to be the finest vintage since the monumental 1995. Deep ruby to the rim with that classic Rayas nose of flowers, kirsch liqueur, black raspberries, crushed rocks, and minerals, the wine is dense and concentrated, with a broad, savory mouthfeel, sweet yet silky tannin, fabulous persistence, and a blockbuster finish that just goes on and on. This is a reassuringly profound Rayas that seems to suggest that Emmanuel Reynaud has finally figured out this cold-climate terroir in a warm climate appellation. This wine should be given 3-4 years of bottle age, and drunk over the following 20+ years.

Robert Parker | 95 RP
Silky and perfumed as well as not showing any of the over-ripeness of the vintage, the 2003 Château Rayas Châteauneuf-du-Pape Reserve possesses beautiful aromatics of kirsch, black tea, garrigue, and green peppercorn that are wrapped around loads of sweet Grenache fruit. Perhaps less intense than other top vintages of this wine, it still shows the telltale Rayas aromatic profile. Medium to full bodied on the palate, the wine is stunningly textured, well balanced and fresh, firming up nicely on the finish with subtle tannin and good energy. Drinking well now, I see nothing that would keep this from continuing to deliver over the next 10 to 15 years.

Jeb Dunnuck | 94 JD
Lovely perfume, with tightly woven red and black cherry, graphite, incense, mineral and sous bois notes that stay fresh and focused thanks to finely imbedded acidity. Stylish finish. Drink now through 2025. 1,500 cases made.

Wine Spectator | 93 WS

Wine Details for 2003 Rayas CDP

Type of Wine Rhone Red
Varietal Proprietary Blend : Proprietary Blend is a general term used to indicate that a wine is comprised of multiple grape varietals which are either “proprietary” to the winery or is blended and does not meet the required maximum or minimum percentage of a particular varietal. This also is the case for the grape’s place of origin, especially for region, appellation or vineyard designated wines. There are endless examples of blended wines which are labeled as “Proprietary Blend” and in conjunction with each region’s stipulated wine laws and regulations makes for a vast blanket for wines to fall into. Perhaps the simplest example is California; if a wine is to be labeled as Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, it is required to have at least 75% of the varietal (Cabernet Sauvignon) and 85% of the fruit must be cultivated from the Napa Valley wine district. If the wine does not meet the requirements, it is then labeled as Proprietary Blend.

Country France : Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.

For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.

France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.

France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.

Region Rhone : While the Northern Rhone produces only about 5% of all wine coming out of the Rhone Valley, the quality of these bottles is not to be underestimated. The terroir in this region is heavenly for growing Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne or Rousanne - the only permitted grapes in the AOC. Picture this - the Rhone flows through the valley like an azure thread piercing the landscape, a reflection of the dreamy skies hovering above the vineyards, ready to produce rainfall at a moment's notice. The rocky soil of the steep, almost surreal hillsides provides a bountiful feast for the grapevine roots. The flavors and texture of Northern Rhone wines tell you everything you need to know as soon as your lips touch the elixir, like a whisper in the vigorous valley winds

As per the Southern Rhone wine, it is like taking a plunge into a whirlpool of juicy flavor. Every sip explodes forward like a crashing tsunami, bathing your tastebuds in delicious aromas of prune, chocolate, grass, and black fruit. The wines are so compelling that it can be hard to drink them casually at a social event without getting lost in their intricate textures and emotional depths. Let's set sail together, and drink deep from these luxurious bottles with our friends and loved ones.
Subregion Southern Rhone
Appellation Chateauneuf Du Pape


Producer Chateau Rayas : The appellation of Chateauneuf-Du-Pape in the Southern Rhone winegrowing region of France is one of the most versatile in the world. Its soil would be poor for most living things but coincidentally, quite generous to the grape varietals that dwell here. It is a land teeming with creative minds that use the terroir and grape varietals to produce masterpieces. Among these is a family who creates hauntingly good wines that are otherworldly, extraordinarily silky, elegant and sensuous.

If there is one single wine in the appellation that signifies the true level of greatness possible in Chateauneuf-Du-Pape, it would be Rayas. Like the First Growths of Bordeaux, Rayas could be the one to showcase the true potential of the region. The Reynaud family has been tending the vines of Chateau Rayas for generations. When Albert Reynaud went deaf at the young age of 45, he needed a new career and decided to become a winemaker in the Rhone Valley and purchased Chateau Rayas.

His son, Louis Reynaud would inherit the estate after his father’s passing and in his ambitious nature helped bring the estate into the modern era as one of the most popular producers in Southern Rhone. Under his direction, Rayas became one of the first estates in Chateauneuf-Du-Pape to bottle and sell their own wine. Louis began adding the words “Premier Grand Cru” on the labels which helped to gain attention. The Reynaud family continued to add to their holdings, expanding the vineyards, including the purchase of Chateau des Tours in the southeast and Chateau Fonsalette in the north. The descendants have continued to inherit the land and the next generations are poised to take control when the time comes.

Rayas owns 12 hectares of vines in Chateauneuf-Du-Pape that possesses a unique terroir or red, sandy soils with small amounts of limestone and clay with very few rocks. The extremely fine, sandy soils are reminiscent to that of a beach. Due to the large amounts of clay in the soils, the ground retains moisture, adding to the humidity which aids in keeping the ground temperature cool. Another key factor contributing to the terroir is the landscape which consists of many large pine and oak trees found in the vineyards. The trees and the surrounding forest land alter the micro-climate, influencing cooler temperatures.

Though the temperatures may keep the yields low and prevent an early harvest, Chateau Rayas seeks low yields where the clusters are larger with smaller grapes. Ten hectares are reserved for the production of their red Chateauneuf-Du-Pape and 2 hectares for the production of their whites. Rayas remains a very traditional winemaker and both the Chateau Rayas Chateauneuf and their second wine, Pignan are both 100% Grenache. Rayas produces 1,100 cases of its flagship each year, while the Pignan sees only around 650 cases yearly. The white Chateauneuf-Du-Pape is sourced from 50% Grenache Blanc and 50% Clairette, in which a mere 425 cases are produced annually.

Rayas also produces three Cotes du Rhone and a declassified wine from their vineyards at Chateau Fonsalette and at Chateau des Tours, they produce a red and white which are sold as Vin de Pays. A multitude of grape varietals are used to produce these wines which include Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Grenache Blanc, Merlot and Clairette. These 11 hectares combined with the 12 in Chateauneuf-Du-Pape brings Chateau Rayas to 23 total hectares under vine in Southern Rhone. Over the course of more than a century and multiple generations the Reynaud family has turned an unexpected career into an empire which has been passionately cared for.

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