2016 Olivier & Lafont Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc Fleur Blanche

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Wine Critic Reviews for 2016 Olivier & Lafont Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc Fleur Blanche

Pale yellow-gold. Powerful Meyer lemon and peach nectar aromas show excellent clarity and complementary hints of fennel and white flowers. Minerally and seamless on the palate, offering intense peach and lemon curd flavors along with deeper buttered toast and honey nuances. Shows impressive and surprising vibrancy for its power, and finishes supple and very long, with suave floral and mineral notes hanging on.

Vinous Media | 93 VM

Wine Details on 2016 Olivier & Lafont Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc Fleur Blanche

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Producer Olivier & Lafont
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
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.

Type of Wine Chateauneuf du Pape: You can expect Chateauneuf-du-Pape reds selection to wash over you with a combination of leather, game, tar, and delicious dried herbs, creating a spice mixture that commands respect from even the harshest non-believers. Chateauneuf-du-Pape whites are ever so refreshing and bold, frolicking in a field of floral notes and earthy minerals.
Varietal Clairette: The distinctively, light-colored grape variety of Clairette (which means “light one”) has grown throughout Southern France for centuries, where it has played a significant role in the winegrowing regions of Rhone and Langeudoc. It is regarded for its contributions to the winemaking of both red and white Chateauneuf-Du-Pape and can be found in varietal bottlings in Languedoc where it makes fresh, sparkling wines as well as easy-drinking still wines. Clairette may not be as popular among growers as it once was, but it retains a strong connection to the Rhone Valley to this day.

In a winegrowing region such as the Rhone, where a plethora of celebrated grape varietals are cultivated, lesser known grapes will come to either be underutilized or underappreciated. Such is the case with the white grape variety, Clairette. Once widespread throughout Southern Rhone, this “unforgiving” grape fell out of favor due to its difficulty in the cellar. However, changes to growing and harvesting methods as well as careful vinification has seen positive strides being taken in the resurgence of this wonderful variety today.

Valued for its adaptability to hot, dry climates, Clairette thrives in the “infertile” limestone soils of the region. Clairette is late budding, making it less vulnerable than most to spring frosts, which is a helpful quality as frost is the chief weather hazard. It ripens mid-harvest, long after most other white varieties, such as Marsanne and Grenache Blanc. It can be harvested early to showcase its freshness and minerality, or when given a longer hang-time, can produce richer, more alcoholic wines.

Despite Clairette’s less popular station among grape varietals, it is the second most widely planted white grape variety in Chateauneuf-Du-Pape AOC (controlled designation of origin). It is one of thirteen grapes permitted in the making of both red and white Chateauneuf-Du-Pape and provides a much needed counterweight to the richness present in Grenache Blanc and Rousanne, which are used in the production of white Chateauneuf-Du-Pape, or Chateauneuf-Du-Pape Blanc. Though Clairette is most often used in blending, there are a number of producers making Chateauneuf-Du-Pape Blancs from 100% Clairette, which have received great praise and highly-rated reviews from professional critics. This trend is beginning to gain traction among growers due to its success. These types of Chateauneufs are quite rich with intense floral and peach aromas with fruity, fresh, zippy lemon and honey flavors.

Clairette is rarely acknowledged as a varietal wine in France; however, it is the only permitted grape in the appellation of Coteaux de Die in southeastern France, where it is fashioned into light, still white wines. When featured as a single-varietal in this style, it is described as having flavors of fennel, apple, lime, apricot and peach. Clairette is also used in the appellations of Crement de Die and Clairette de Die (both sparkling) where the latter, ironically, may be comprised of up to only 25% of its appellation’s name. Crement de Die, on the other hand, must include at least 55% Clairette in its bottlings.

Very few hectares of Clairette reside outside of France, though there are producers, such as Tablas Creek, in California producing varietal examples. Italy, South Africa and Lebanon are among the few other countries to have miniscule holdings of the grape.

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