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2019 Domaine de Cristia Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes

2019 Domaine de Cristia Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes

97 JD


Sokolin Notes:
From One of the Top Chateauneuf Producers!

From the critics:

96 WS

94 DEC

91+ RP

Featured Review
The 2019 Châteauneuf Du Pape Vieilles Vignes (100% Grenache) brings more opulence and sexiness, with a more unevolved vibe in its ripe black fruits, violets, toasted spice, and Provençal garrigue-like aromas and flavors. Brought up in equal parts used barrels, new French oak, and demi-muids, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a seamless, incredibly elegant texture, ripe tannins, and one hell of a great finish. This is a Grenache lover's dream, and it should continue drinking brilliantly for another 10-15 years. Jeb Dunnuck

Jeb Dunnuck | 97 JD

Critic Reviews

The 2019 Châteauneuf Du Pape Vieilles Vignes (100% Grenache) brings more opulence and sexiness, with a more unevolved vibe in its ripe black fruits, violets, toasted spice, and Provençal garrigue-like aromas and flavors. Brought up in equal parts used barrels, new French oak, and demi-muids, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a seamless, incredibly elegant texture, ripe tannins, and one hell of a great finish. This is a Grenache lover’s dream, and it should continue drinking brilliantly for another 10-15 years.

Jeb Dunnuck | 97 JD
A strapping young wine, brimming with dark plum paste and boysenberry compote flavors that are carried by racy licorice snap and fruitcake notes. The lively back end shows a hint of bramble and a touch of tar, giving this energy and power as it courses through the finish. Best from 2023 through 2038. 300 cases made, 50 cases impo

Wine Spectator | 96 WS
Better balanced than the Renaissance, not so much oak with the natural power of the fruit to the fore. It’s very ripe, quite muscular and towards sweet in profile. A bright, zingy, technicolour style, polished and sleek, but will have plenty of fans. Warming alcohol. 100% old-vine Grenache from the lieu-dit Cristia sandy soils. Matured in barriques and demi-muids for 18 months, one-third new oak. Drinking Window 2022 - 2033.

Decanter | 94 DEC
All Grenache, the 2019 Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes matured in a mix of demi-muids and barriques, with about one-third new oak. Faint herbal notes and nuance to this wine’s cedar, vanilla and black cherry flavors. It’s full-bodied, concentrated and reasonably tannic, but it finishes silky and fine. Tasted twice (once blind), with consistent notes.

Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 91+ RP

Wine Details for 2019 Domaine de Cristia Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes

Type of Wine Rhone Red
Varietal Grenache : The vast and complex world of grape varietals is wondrous, fascinating and somewhat baffling. The how and why certain varietals either prosper or fail in winegrowing regions around the world is interesting; varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon thrive in extremely gravely soils, while Merlot finds success in rich clay. The Grenache grape variety is no exception. It excels in some of the most “inhospitable” soils and climates; inhospitable perhaps for anything but the wonderful Grenache grape. It seems adaptable to harsher climates and terroir and when at its best can produce one of the most concentrated and alcohol laden wines.

Grenache (or Garnacha as it is called in Spain) is believed to have originated from the north-eastern Spanish province of Aragon. The varietal first spread south and east, to Catalonia, Rioja and Navarra. It expanded greatly throughout the 12th-17th century, to Corsica, Sardinia, Southern Italy, Sicily, Croatia and even Greece. It was first planted in France in the Languedoc region in the 18th century and eventually its arrival to Rhone in the 19th century. The worldwide expansion of Grenache was inevitable and would eventually find its way to Australia, South Africa, Chile, Argentina, Provence and America. It was first introduced to California by Charles Lefranc, a prominent Santa Clara winegrower, in 1857.

Today, Grenache is one of the most popular and widely cultivated grape varietals in the world covering 163,000 hectares world-wide. It has been used in a myriad of ways and has been both, the workhorse and backbone in blending but also as a single-varietal. It is undoubtedly the magical component of the infamous Chateauneuf-Du-Pape appellation of France where a sea of Grenache grape vines grace the vineyards. Though there are 13 allowable varietals permitted by law in the AOC (controlled designation of origin), Grenache makes up 70-75% of all grapes grown in the appellation. It flourishes in a terroir of large stones, crystalline rocks, quartz, sandstone and the famous ‘galets roules’ (large round stones found throughout Southern Rhone). Chateau Rayas, which produces, perhaps the truest expression of Chateauneuf-Du-Pape is composed of 100% Grenache. Due to grape’s thin skin, the wine of Rayas is reminiscent to the color of red Burgundy offerings.

In Provence, Grenache is widely used in the blending of Rose wines. The great Sasha Lichine, of Chateau D’Esclans, who revolutionized the rose industry uses Grenache as the primary blending agent in his fleet of Rose. The grape’s phenolic qualities, ageability and character have lent to the success of D’Esclans, as his Garrus is the world’s most renowned, prestigious rose wine, while his Whispering Angel is the top-selling French rose in the United States.

In California, Grenache has taken on “new life” as it has found great success in the last 20-some years. New World winemakers and growers have adopted the grape (along with Syrah), producing what is referred to as “Rhone Rangers.” Manfred Krankl of Sine Qua Non and Alban Vineyards may be some of the finest examples of Grenache in California. Alban vineyards was the first important California winery to produce single-vineyard “Rhone” varietals, beginning a craze among other vintners as well as consumers. Krankl has fashioned ethereal wines from 100% Grenache that rival the greatest expression of Grenache in the world, earning him the title “California Cult” producer.

The varietal’s birthplace and most of Spain’s winegrowing regions have enjoyed great success with Grenache (Garnacha), where the varietal thrives in its natural elements of the hot and windy Mediterranean valleys. It ripens late with a long hang-time, so it needs hot, dry conditions. The long and deep roots are well suited to water stress, allowing for super concentrated flavors and aromas, especially with old vines. Spain has some of the finest Garnacha offerings as well as some of the least expensive in the world.

The incredible adaptability to areas of such inhospitable, dry and infertile soils is a mystical quality of Grenache. The world has been granted a gift, one that suits every budget and nearly every palate. From Chateauneuf-Du-Pape to Rose, to Cotes-Du-Rhone to Spanish Garnacha, the varietal has certainly earned its spot on the top of hot list.

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 Domaine de Cristia : Born in the 1950s in the lieu-dit of la Cristia, for which it takes its name, Domaine de Cristia had a humble beginning on 2 hectares of Grenache vines in the Southern Rhone Valley. Its founder, Etienne Grangeon, procured the small plot and began his family’s winegrowing business. Three generations later, this family with great love of its terroir, has expanded its holdings and has become one of the greatest producers in the appellation of Chateauneuf-Du-Pape.

In the early days, like many Rhone producers of that time, the entire production of Cristia was sold in bulk to negociants. In 1963, Alain Grangeon joined his father in the family business, and the eventual control of the domaine would be under his direction. His passion for viticulture would lead Cristia to new heights, elevating its quality and helping to bring the domaine closer to a new era. Under his tutelage the expansion of the family estate began with the planting of improving grape varieties such as Syrah and Mourvedre. His knowledge and respect of predominately sandy soils and the varieties known to excel in them was fantastic foresight. This endeavor contributed to the rise in quality and ultimately to the Cristia Identity.

In 1999 Baptiste and Dominique joined their father, Alain, and together brought Cristia into the modern era. The domaine had been bottling their own wines at miniscule levels and while it was not produced for commercial sale, it was a prelude to the future of the domaine. The year Alain’s two sons joined the domaine was also the year that Cristia would begin bottling 100% of its production. With this accomplished, Baptiste and Dominique went to work in optimizing plot selection so as to produce high quality wines for aging in bottles and to market them both in France and for export.

Today, three generations of winegrowers, with their affection and care of the terroir, their passion for viticulture and respect for nature cultivate 42 hectares of Domaine de Cristia, spread across multiple appellations. The family estate now has 9-hectares in Cotes-Du-Rhone Villages, 5-hectares in Cotes-Du-Rhone and another 9-hectares used for Vin de Pays (wine from France). Their ambitious nature has also allowed Domaine de Cristia to grow, build and become more anchored within the Chateauneuf-Du-Pape appellation with 18 hectares now under vine.

The terroir of Cristia’s Chateauneuf-Du-Pape plots are composed of 90% sandy soils, mostly found in the la Cristia locality. These parcels benefit from a north-east exposure which gives the vines a beautiful freshness and produces grapes with supple, elegant tannins, lending to longevity of the wine. A single parcel located in l’Arnesque farther east in the appellation is covered with rolled pebbles cast among the soil at the time of the glaciers and enjoys permanent sunshine. The pebbles are vital to the vines as they absorb the sun’s heat during the day and transfer it into the soil overnight optimizing phenolic and alcoholic maturities. This combination of terroirs is instrumental in obtaining the characteristic of Domaine de Cristia wine.

The Cotes-Du-Rhone, Cotes-Du-Rhone Villages and Vin de Pays plots are spread over the lieu-dit of Courthezon very near the appellation of Chateauneuf-Du-Pape, and possess a terroir of essentially sandy soils, allowing it to produce wines in the same lineage as the Chateauneuf-Du-Pape. The predominant grape variety used to produce Cristia wines is Grenache, with it being 85% of its vines among all its plots. Syrah is planted to 10%, Mourvedre at 5% and Cinsault is a new arrival to the blending process bringing with it a new aromatic palette. Clairette and Roussanne are planted in miniscule amounts and used to produce the domaine’s white wines.

Domaine de Cristia produces four Chateauneuf-Du-Papes, three red and a white, with a total annual production of around 4,500 cases. The domaine also produce multiple Cotes-Du-Rhones and a single-varietal, Grenache Vin de pays.

Three generations of winegrowing knowledge has brought the Cristia family domaine from two to 42 hectares, elevating its quality and placing them in the category of the appellation’s best wines. Their philosophy has been to cultivate the land as naturally as possible allowing nature to dictate the terms while using their experience to best comply with it.

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