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Rhone Reds

Rhone Reds

Rhone Reds

Rhone Blend Wine

The Rhône valley has historically been an underappreciated region when it comes to viticultural accomplishments. It has long remained in the shadows of Bordeaux, Champagne and other regions that normally represent the pinnacle of French winemaking prowess, yet it consistently gives birth to some of the most awe-inspiring, compelling and mouth-watering wines in the world. Blends like Hermitage or Côte-Rôtie are nothing short of heavenly, and they’re often underrated, not appearing in as many conversations as they truly deserve.

In terms of grape varietals, the Rhône offers a fair amount of variety. Syrah and Grenache dominate the red wine blends of the region, whereas white wine aficionados can enjoy a tasteful, complex combination of Marsanne, Viognier, and Roussanne. Every one of these wines simply oozes with character and complexity, requiring multiple tastings to properly deconstruct for all except the best-trained connoisseurs.

You have quite a few excellent choices, regardless of your personal preference. A 2003 or 2001 vintage of “Hommage à Jacque Perrin” from Chateau de Beaucastel or a bottle of Réserve des Célestins from 2000, made by the artisan Henri Bonneau, can send you soaring to the cosmos as your senses are stimulated to their conceivable limit. The deep, often inky appearance of these wines reveals their raw power and boldness, making them a common favorite among those who explore this region’s produce. Examining each wine from the Rhône valley in detail would take us longer than the average fermentation period for one of these masterpieces, but allow us to introduce you to some of the finest representatives.
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1989 beaucastel chateauneuf du pape Chateauneuf du Pape

This is a floral and elegantly complex edition of this wine with dried meat and leather, iron and graphite, tobacco and dry spices. More elegant palate than the 1990, it has a very fine stream of red fruit and spiced cherries and a central, linear focus. The flavors hold so very long, deeply concentrated and focused. The fruit livens up at the finish and opens very impressively. Drink now.James Suckling | 98 JSThe 1989 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape is an awesome wine with the usual Beaucastel meat, earth and game notes backed up by ripe, clean dark fruit aromas. The palate is stunning and shows considerable structure and a precise, almost angular character. Much more structured and precise in the mouth than the 1990, this has a long, beautiful finish.Jeb Dunnuck | 97 JDThe 1989 is inkier/purple in color than the 1990, with an extraordinarily sweet, rich personality offering up notes of smoke, melted licorice, black cherries, Asian spices, and cassis. Full-bodied and concentrated, it is one of the most powerful as well as highly extracted Beaucastels I have ever tasted. It requires another 3-4 years to reach its plateau of maturity, where it should remain for at least two decades. (Many purchasers have reported bottle leakage (due to a cork problem) with this vintage. I purchased two cases of this wine, but none of my bottles reveal any sign of leakage. A good friend of mine, Dr. Jay Miller, owner of Bin 604 Wine Sellers in Baltimore, has consistently had a problem with “corked” bottles of the 1989, but no leakage.)Robert Parker | 97 RPPerhaps the greatest Beaucastel ever produced. Has the class and structure of a great vintage of Mouton-Rothschild. Deep, inky in color, with intense herb, plum, game and spice aromas, this full-bodied wine has an explosion of fruit and an iron backbone. Try the beginning of next century.--Châteauneuf-du-Pape retrospective. Best from 1995 through 2005. 25,000 cases made.Wine Spectator | 97 WS(Châteauneuf du Pape- Château Beaucastel) I have always been a fan of the 1989 Château Beaucastel, which I rank just behind the superb 1981 at this fine estate. The most recent bottle I tasted of this wine was still just a touch youthful, but offered up fine complexity on both the nose and palate and shows excellent promise. The bouquet is a blend of roasted fruitcake, cherries, new leather, venison, incipient notes of sous bois, woodsmoke and hot stones. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and rock solid at the core, with a bit of tannin still to resolve, fine focus and grip and a very long, classy and slightly chewy finish. I would be tempted to give this wine a few more years to really resolve, as it will be a superb wine and it would be most enjoyable to drink it at the same plateau that the 1981 has been enjoying for a good decade already. (Drink between 2015-2050).John Gilman | 93+ JG

97
RP
As low as $329.00
1990 le vieux donjon chateauneuf du pape Rhone Red

A big, ripe and full-bodied effort that’s fully mature, the 1990 Chateauneuf du Pape offers fabulous character and depth, and is about as classic as they comes. Showing an amber/mature color, it has loads of garrigue, spice meats, red currants, licorice and pepper as well as a rich, layered and seamless profile on the palate. It’s a thrilling wine, but it’s not going to get any better, so drink up.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 95 RP

98
RP-HG
As low as $275.00
1995 guigal cote rotie la landonne Cote Rotie

One of the treats when tasting through the profound Côte Rôties made by Marcel Guigal was the opportunity to taste all of the bottled 1995's. Reviewed in previous issues, they are even better from bottle than they were during their upbringing (a characteristic of many Guigal wines). The 1995 Côte Rôtie la Landonne is the stuff of legends and is every bit as compelling as readers might expect. This single vineyard wine will have at least 2 decades of longevity.Robert Parker | 99 RPDeep ruby-red. More sauvage aromas of black raspberry, blueberry, tar, mocha, minerals, mace and roasted game. Superconcentrated and powerful, with a near-solid texture. One of those rare wines that seems almost too big for the mouth. Finishes with huge, toothfurring-but-ripe tannins and great persistence.Vinous Media | 97 VMA full-bodied Syrah in an international-style that's complex and seductive, layered with cinnamon, toasted oak, plum, game, smoke, mineral and black fruit flavors. Turns massively tannic on the finish. Balanced and elegant despite the obvious richness, it's tempting on release, but needs a bit of time to tame the tannins. Drink now through 2015. 1,000 cases made.Wine Spectator | 94 WS

95
RP
As low as $725.00
1998 beaucastel cdp hommage a jacques perrin Chateauneuf du Pape

I've been lucky enough to have the 1998 Chateauneuf du Pape Hommage A Jacques Perrin numerous times recently and it has never failed to deliver everything I could want from a wine. Getting the best parcel of Grenache from the estate and a dramatically shifted blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre and the rest Syrah and Counoise, it's a massive and concentrated Chateauneuf that surprisingly still seems to show its Mourvedre component front and center. Blackberries, kirsch, truffle, gamy meats, licorice and earth all give way to a full-bodied, seamless, impeccably balanced wine that carries its huge core of fruit with remarkable freshness and grace. While it will no doubt continue to evolve gracefully, it's brilliant today.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 100 RPThe 1998 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Hommage à Jacques Perrin is fruit forward with rich, sweet blackberry and cassis notes paired with melted licorice, spice, roast meat and subtle truffle and earth aromas. The palate is full bodied, perfectly balanced and with some real density and depth. Almost chewable, this is silky smooth and doesn't show a hard edge anywhere. The blockbuster finish picks up ripe and sweet tannins.Jeb Dunnuck | 98 JDA wine made with a high quantity of Mourvèdre (60%), and produced only in the best years, in memory of François and Jean-Pierre's father. Superripe, with huge fruit, its' jammy, gamy and rich. Dusty tannins and excellent black-fruit flavors. The final effect is a wine that epitomizes the potential elegance and the power of Chateauneuf-du-Pape in one glass. A great wine with a distinguished future—at least 20 years.Wine Enthusiast | 98 WEBright saturated ruby. Confectionery aromas of cherry liqueur and roasted meat. A wine of extraordinary density; incredibly thick but, in comparison to the basic '98 Beaucastel bottling, this has more shoulders. More black fruits than red. Finishes with great, lush tannins and explosive berry and cocoa powder flavors. Among the longest wines of my tour of the Rhone Valley. This is "only" 14.2% alcohol.Vinous Media | 97 VMStill a bit of a brute, as the Mourvèdre thoroughly dominates, with tar, pan-roasted liver, graphite and loam notes that hold sway over more typical Châteauneuf notes of currant, licorice, garrigue and mineral. This is very dense on the finish and still somewhat backward, so patience is required for this giant.--1998 Châteauneuf-du-Pape retrospective. Best from 2010 through 2032. 415 cases made.Wine Spectator | 97 WSThe only vintage of Hommage with more Grenache than Mourvèdre, as it was such a brilliant year for Grenache. This is explains its colour: much more pale than a classic Hommage at this stage of maturity. Very much ready now, the aromas come out like a cloud rather than a whisp. Has plenty of meat stock, horse chestnut shells, chestnut and plum scents, with a gentle spicing in the background. Very full-bodied, very generous and rounded. The alcohol is a little more evident than a classic Hommage, the fabric a little looser - it doesn't have the Mourvèdre tannic muscle. The finish is less long than a classic vintage, but more succulent. An atypical vintage for this cuvée, so perhaps should be described as a 'great Châteauneuf' rather than a 'great Hommage'. Either way, it's an exquisite wine. Drinking Window 2020 - 2030.Decanter | 96 DEC

100
RP
As low as $749.00
2000 beaucastel cdp hommage a jacques perrin Rhone Red

The 2000 possesses an impenetrable black/purple color as well as a sumptuous bouquet of melted licorice, creosote, new saddle leather, blackberry and cherry fruit as well as roasted meats. Sweet and full-bodied, with great intensity, huge power, and a finish that lasts for 67 seconds by my watch, this is an amazing tour de force in winemaking. Even in a flattering, forward-styled vintage such as 2000, it will need 7-8 years of cellaring, yet this is the most accessible Jacques Perrin I have tasted. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2040.Robert Parker | 99 RP(the blend, based on 60% mourvedre, was to have been bottled a week after my visit) Saturated bright deep ruby. Incredible kaleidoscope of a nose: blackberry, currant, violet, espresso, bitter chocolate, truffle, eucalyptus, gibier, licorice, pepper and wild spices. Similarly multifaceted in the mouth; hugely concentrated and lush but lively and light on its feet. This boasts an extraordinary core of dark fruit. Finishes extremely long, juicy and young. This is even stronger than it appeared to be a year ago. In comparison to this wine, the 1999 version, which I retasted alongside the 2000, was a bit more port-like, with strong notes of fruit cake and maple syrup and a superripe, chocolatey finish; I rated the wine 96 but felt that the 2000 showed even greater long-term potential.Vinous Media | 95-98 VMA wine that continues to show beautifully is the 2000 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Hommage A Jacques Perrin. Still vibrant ruby-colored with an incredible nose of blackcurrants, beef blood, truffle, incense and cured meats, it’s a huge, opulent, concentrated 2000 that has a stacked mid-palate, sweet tannin, no hard edges and a finish that just won’t quit. It’s a heavenly red that can be enjoyed anytime over the coming two decades.Jeb Dunnuck | 98 JDA seducer, this Old World blockbuster dazzles with its class. Ultrarich, pitch-black, it remains elegant and refined despite its monster structure, but it’s open-knit, delivering earthy, mineral, iron and wet fur character along with the plum and blackberry. Long, refined finish. Drink now through 2025. 500 cases made. — PMWine Spectator | 95 WS(Château de Beaucastel, Hommage à Jacques Perrin, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Rhône, France, Red) Bloody on the nose, fresh meat and iron. Mature now, with some earthy notes among the autumnal fruits underpinned by a distinctly spicy aromatic vein. Only medium-bodied, ready to drink now, in fact it’s time to drink up - it’s unlikely to improve. Sappy acidity and a touch of polished wood on the finish. Tannins are a little lacking in finesse, but there’s good complexity and a regal touch - ageing royalty. (Drink between 2020-2022)Decanter | 94 DEC(Châteauneuf du Pape “Hommage à Jacques Perrin”- Château de Beaucastel) The 2000 Hommage from Château de Beaucastel is quite marked by brettanomyces and this will affect one’s appreciation of the wine, depending on one’s tolerance of brett. The bouquet is a mix of cassis, saddle leather, a fair bit of barnyard, dark soil tones and a topnote of bonfires. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and classically proportioned, with a good core, moderate tannins and a long, nascently complex finish that closes with good grip. If one really dislikes brett, then deduct several points from my score, but for those with some tolerance, this is a good bottle in the making- though still in need of far more time in the cellar to really blossom! (Drink between 2025-2055)John Gilman | 92 JG

100
RP-HG
As low as $499.00
2000 chave hermitage cathelin cuvee Hermitage

Chave’s 2000 Cuvée Cathelin was monumental. It was a privilege to taste, but also a shame to open so early. If the 1991 seemed young, the 2000 came across as a veritable new-born. Antonio Galloni | 97 AGSurprisingly, there will be about 200 cases produced of a 2000 Hermitage Cuvee Cathelin. Based on earlier visits, I thought this cuvee would not be produced again as the Chaves were embarrassed by all the attention previous offerings received. However, they will continue to produce it as long as it does not detract from their classic cuvee. The Cuvee Cathelin displays more new oak than the regular bottling as well as firmer tannin, yet also great length, palate presence, and structure. Boasting a chocolatey, blackberry nose, huge intensity, and super elegance and finesse, it will require 5-6 years of cellaring. Qualitatively, it is no better than its sibling, but does possess additional structure and new oak characteristics. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2040.This family-run estate continues to go from strength to strength, with the father and son (Gerard and Jean-Louis) team pushing all the right buttons to achieve success at all quality levels. Jean-Louis Chave is responsible for several negociant wines.Robert Parker | 96 RP

96
RP
As low as $6,749.00
2001 pierre usseglio cdp deux freres Chateauneuf du Pape

The 2001 Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve des Deux Freres elicits “wows”. Aged 60% in neutral wood foudres and 40% in one, two, and three-year old Burgundy barrels, this 2001, which tips the scales at an awesome 16.2% natural alcohol, boasts an inky/purple color along with a sensationally pure bouquet of blackberries, graphite, acacia flowers, licorice, and sweet kirsch liqueur. Unctuously textured and full-bodied, with high tannin as well as a closed personality, this prodigious yet fabulous Chateauneuf du Pape is a potential legend in the making. It requires 3-5 years of cellaring, and should keep for two decades. The texture, purity, and magnificent concentration suggest tiny yields, old vines, and non-interventionalistic winemaking. By the way, this wine represents a selection of the finest lots in the cellar as the sources are the same as for the Cuvee de Mon Aieul, although a large component of Deux Freres is from the Usseglio holdings in the sector of Chateauneuf du Pape called La Crau. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2022+.Robert Parker | 99 RPBright ruby-red. Superripe, roasted aromas of singed red fruits, carob, marzipan and walnut. A huge, roasted wine showing strong evidence of surmaturite; flavors of dried fruits and walnut. With alcohol in the 16% range this is undeniably massive, but I found myself wishing it had more primary fruit and verve. Quite different in style from the Cuvee de Mon Aieul. A rare and expensive bottling, recommended for fans of the type.Vinous Media | 91 VM

99
RP
As low as $275.00
2001 pierre usseglio cdp mon aeiul Rhone Red

Meaning Ancestor, and named in honor of Thierry and Jean–Pierre Usseglio’s grandfather, the 2001 Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée de mon Aïeul, 100% Grenache that was aged all in concrete tank, is a benchmark Châteauneuf that is the essence of old vine Grenache. Yielding gorgeous aromatics of kirsch and blackberry styled fruits that are supported by garrigue, meat juice, licorice, and spice, the wine is full bodied on the palate and shows a perfect texture, beautiful poise and focus, and a seamless, very long finish. Hard to fault and this does almost everything right. It should continue to improve for another 2-3 years, and drink well for 10-15 after that. This is a gorgeous wine that every CDP lover needs in the cellar.Jeb Dunnuck | 97 JDRed-ruby. Raspberry liqueur, game and exotic woodsmoke on the nose. Large-scaled, powerful and dense, with an impressive, solid core of almost medicinal black cherry and dark berry fruit. Very deep, rich, young Chateauneuf with strong but ripe palate-coating tannins and superb persistence. This will reward seven to ten years of cellaring.Vinous Media | 93 VM

99
RP
As low as $155.00
2007 beaucastel cdp hommage a jacques perrin Chateauneuf du Pape

I continue to be blown away by the 2007 Châteauneuf du Pape Hommage A Jacques Perrin and it’s a magical, hedonistic, thrilling wine in every way. A blend of 60% Mourvèdre, 20% Syrah, and the balance Counoise and Grenache brought up in a large oak foudre, it offers to-die-for notes of roasted Provencal herbs, black truffles, assorted red and black fruits, ground pepper, lavender, and incense. Thick, opulent, full-bodied and incredibly powerful on the palate, it has the sexy, fruit-loaded style of the vintage front and center yet backs it up with masses of tannins and structure. Drink it any time over the coming two decades or more.Jeb Dunnuck | 100 JDNo Hommage a Jacques Perrin was made in 2008, but the 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape Hommage a Jacques Perrin is an utterly perfect wine. Composed of 60% Mourvedre, 20% Syrah, and the rest Counoise and Grenache, this prodigious effort boasts an inky/blue/purple color to the rim in addition to an exceptional bouquet of camphor, roasted meats, blueberries, black cherries, black currants, truffles, beef blood, pepper, and incense. The sumptuous aromatics are followed by a wine of compelling intensity, full-bodied power, perfect balance, laser-like focus, and a finish that lasts more than a minute. The 2007’s texture reminds me of the 1998 Jacques Perrin, and the freshness of the fruit and explosive aromatics are to die for. There are only 500 cases of this legend in the making, but for those lucky enough to find any, it will last for 40-60 years.One of the great estates of the Rhone Valley, Chateau Beaucastel has been run by several generations of the Perrin family, beginning with the late Jacques Perrin (who died in 1978), then the brothers Jean-Pierre and Francois, and now their sons Thomas, Marc, Pierre, and Mathieu. Beaucastel has nearly 200 acres in vine in Chateauneuf du Pape, and they have branched out with an impressive operation under the Perrin et Fils label, purchasing grapes and acquiring land (in Vinsobres and Gigondas, for example). Their goal is to become the most recognized name for high quality wines in the southern Rhone. As shrewd consumers know, one of the best values in under $10 a bottle wine is La Vieille Ferme. The Perrin et Fils cuvees include wines made from purchased grapes as well as their new acquisitions in Vinsobres, Gigondas (25 acres), and the Cotes du Rhone village of Cairanne (35 acres). The Perrins enjoyed tremendous success with their 2008 red wines, largely because yields ranged between 18 hectoliters per hectare for Beaucastel, to only 20 hectoliters per hectare for Coudoulet. The mildew that affected everyone was the culprit. The entire family acknowledged there was an extraordinary triage and culling out of the grapes at the sorting tables.Robert Parker | 100 RPStill opaquely coloured. Interesting nose; meat stock, smoked duck, struck flint, cigar tobacco - a very smoky, savoury style. It’s opulent, with a soft, yielding texture, this is ready for business now. It’s very rich, exceedingly opulent, the alcohol is very high. Great depth and length, with star anise on the finish - almost has a mulled character. Incredible length; a narcotic vintage of Hommage that is atypical and unforgettable. A wine to share among friends, a glass would be enough. Perhaps two... Drinking Window 2019 - 2050.Decanter | 99 DECThis has all the heady, dense crushed fig, linzer torte, currant confiture and melted licorice flavors of the vintage, but carries them effortlessly, thanks to perfectly embedded tannins and gorgeous, creamy layers of tar, roasted mesquite, braised chestnut, maduro tobacco and iron. Offering amazing mouthfeel, a stunning array of flavors and awesome density, purity and length, this shows the glory of Mourvèdre in 2007. Best from 2012 through 2035. 580 cases made.Wine Spectator | 99 WS(based on 70% mourvedre) Opaque ruby color. Remarkably complex bouquet of dark berry compote, potpourri, sandalwood, smoked meat and licorice, complemented by a smoky mineral overtone. Broad, palate-coating dark fruit flavors pick up notes of candied flowers and licorice with air and show a pungent Indian spice character. Becomes more floral with air and leaves sweet cherry and floral pastille notes behind. I’d buy all of this that I could afford.Vinous Media | 97 VM

100
RP
As low as $1,169.00
2007 clos des papes cdp Chateauneuf du Pape

One of the great vintages from this estate, surpassing even the 1990, 2000, 2001, 2003, and maybe the 2010 (time will tell with this one), the 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape from Vincent Avril delivers everything you could want from a wine. Full-bodied, intense and beautifully concentrated, with plenty of muscle and depth, it shows the hallmark elegance and purity of the estate, with sensational notes of kirsch liqueur, raspberries, incense, smoked meats and Asian spices. The blend is the normal 65% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah and the rest a mix of permitted varieties, brought up all in older foudre, and it’s just now entering its prime drink window and has another two decades of longevity.Robert Parker | 100 RPTaking the better part of the evening to open up, and really not shining until the second day, the monumental 2007 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape has shed some of the bombastic levels of fruit it possessed on release, and is developing into a textbook Clos des Papes that exudes richness, as well as finesse and elegance. Loaded with kirsch liqueur, licorice, crushed rock, flowers, and sweet spice, this full-bodied Châteauneuf-du-Pape hits the palate with a wealth of fruit and glycerin, yet remains perfectly balanced, seamless, and incredibly fresh and light. There’s no shortage of tannin or structure, and this needs a solid 4-5 years of bottle age to really start to hit its stride. It should be very long lived and any southern Rhône lover needs to have this wine in the cellar!Jeb Dunnuck | 99 JDAbsolutely stunning, with a deep well of crème de cassis that’s thoroughly pure and captivating, while black tea, fig cake, hoisin sauce, incense and graphite notes weave throughout. The supervelvety finish lets blackberry, boysenberry and crushed cherry fruit take an encore—as if this needed any more fruit. A fantastic display of precision in a very opulent year. Best from 2010 through 2030. 8,000 cases made.Wine Spectator | 97 WSDeep ruby. Powerful, pungent aromas of kirsch, dark berries, smoky herbs and spicecake, with notes of black olive and tobacco coming on with air. Chewy, palate-staining dark fruit flavors are complicated by bitter chocolate, licorice and black cardamom. Acts like a 2005 today, with serious structure but also superb depth of powerful, densely packed fruit. A hint of cherry skin adds grip and refreshing bitterness to the long, smoky, focused finish. Not an easy read right now: this demands cellaring.Vinous Media | 95+ VM

100
RP
As low as $265.00
2007 guigal cote rotie la landonne Cote Rotie

The 2007 Cote Rotie La Landonne exhibits notes of black olives, graphite, smoked meats, new saddle leather and pepper. Meaty, rich and full-bodied, it is not as silky textured, voluptuous or flamboyant as its siblings. Forget it for 5-7 years and drink it over the following three decades.The following paragraph is taken from issue #193, but I believe it is so important to understand the Guigal philosophy that I am repeating it verbatim. “As I have written many times before, no one in the wine world is better at ‘raising’ a wine (or as the French call it elevage) than Marcel Guigal, who learned the skills from his father, Etienne. Because everyone tends to focus on vintage conditions and terroir, the importance of a wine’s elevage is often overlooked, but Guigal’s unusually long tank, foudre and small barrel aging regime for all his red wines as well as several of his whites results in an array of remarkable wines time and time again. Even the most challenging vintages, which often taste under-nourished, vegetal and thin in their first year or two of life, tend to take on concentration and character, turning out to be some of the finest wines in many of the most difficult Rhone vintages. Moreover, Guigal’s wines always taste better out of bottle than from barrel, which speaks to his honesty and integrity as well as to his brilliance in deciding how long to age a wine in wood or tank, as well as choosing the perfect moment to bottle it. None of this is as simple as it might sound, and that’s why Marcel Guigal gets my vote as the reigning genius in terms of the upbringing of his wines.” Crozes-Hermitage has become one of the Guigal “go-to” wines for value hunters and he has raised the level of this humble appellation dramatically with his recent efforts. Cote Rotie was what made Marcel Guigal and his father, Etienne, famous. The Guigals are the largest landholders in Cote Rotie and produce 35-40% of this hallowed appellation’s production. Five cuvees are produced in every vintage, the three single vineyard offerings, the Chateau d’Ampuis (a blend of top sites aged 38 months in 100% new French oak casks), and their largest production offering, the Brune et Blonde (which is aged in small barrels and usually co-fermented with 3-5% Viognier depending on the vintage). Along with Michel Chapoutier’s St.-Joseph Les Granits, Guigal’s St.-Joseph Vignes de l’Hospice is the top wine of the appellation. Guigal purchased this 8-acre parcel of steep hillside vines from Grippat. Aged 30 months in 100% new oak, this wine is extraordinary. Guigal claims the soil is reminiscent of Les Bessards Vineyard in Hermitage Over the last decade, Guigal has dramatically increased his vineyard holdings in Hermitage, purchasing the estates of Jean-Louis Grippat as well as the Hermitage holdings of De Vallouit. He now has parcels in such famed vineyards as Le Meal, Les Beaumes, Les Bessards and Dionnieres. Guigal’s basic red Hermitage (which has been made for over five decades) is generally aged for more than three years in small casks, of which about 45% are new. In exceptional vintages, Guigal will cull out a special cuvee called Ex-Voto, which is aged 42 months in 100% new French oak. One thousand cases are usually made from three separate vineyards (40% from Les Bessards, 40% from Les Greffieux and 20% from Les Murets.) Guigal owns the spectacular Chateau d’Ampuis on the banks of the Rhone River. His son, Philippe, lives here and this is where they produce their wood barrels from long-aged wood staves they purchase 3 to 5 years in advance. This wine, which comes from a blend of such extraordinary vineyards as La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin and La Viria, is aged 38 months in 100% new French oak. Production is approximately 2,000 cases in a good year. The three single vineyard Cote Roties are among the world’s top fifty wines ever made. Their differences become apparent around age 8-10 and are dramatically different by age 15. The first vintage of La Landonne was 1978, La Turque was 1985 and La Mouline was 1966. La Mouline is always the sexiest and easiest to appreciate young as it is co-fermented with 11% Viognier. La Turque is co-fermented with 5-6% Viognier and La Landonne is 100% Syrah. La Mouline comes from the Cote Blonde, which has lighter soils (hence the name), and La Turque and La Landonne emerge from the Cote Brune. La Mouline is made from the oldest vines (60-65 years) and is vinified using pump over techniques. From relatively young vines (about 20 years of age), La Turque is vinified by punching down. La Landonne is vinified using the modern system of the cap being immersed. The results are three very different wines, although all of them spend 42 months in 100% new French oak, are barely racked, have minimal levels of SO2, and are bottled unfined and unfiltered.Robert Parker | 97+ RPThis is very backward, with smoldering tobacco and charcoal up front, holding the dense core of black currant, anise and hoisin sauce at bay for now. Sage, sweet tapenade and bittersweet cocoa all roll as the grip takes over on the back end. A gutsy wine, with a charcoal- and singed iron–filled finish. Best from 2013 through 2026. 1,000 cases made. — JMWine Spectator | 97 WSVivid purple. Heady aromas of candied red and dark fruits, incense, violet and smoky minerals. Cherry-cola and blackberry compote flavors show an intriguing blend of richness and vivacity, with bright mineral snap on the back half. Finishes sappy, sweet and extremely long, with resonating floral and spice notes. This wine blends the richness and power of the Turque with the vivacity of the Mouline and should age effortlessly.Vinous Media | 95 VM

97
RP
As low as $369.00
2007 Pierre Usseglio CDP Deux Freres

Absolutely brilliant and jaw dropping good, the 2007 Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape Réserve des Deux Frères, showing every bit as well as on release, is everything you could want in a wine and then some. Showing spectacular aromatics of Cassis, graphite, spice, chocolate, and garrigue, it is downright ethereal on the palate and possesses a full-bodied, yet weightless, elegant texture, perfect balance, thrilling richness, and a blockbuster finish that just keeps on giving. Simply a thrilling drink that I wish every Châteauneuf-du-Pape lover could experience, this awesome 2007 is superb now, yet will easily age for 2+ decades. Hat’s off to the Usseglio brothers for this utterly captivating bottle of wine!Jeb Dunnuck | 100 JDThe perfect 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve des Deux Freres is slightly more evolved and complex than the Mon Aieul, as odd as that seems. Having had it twice out of bottle, this wine (nearly 100% Grenache combined with a few dollops of Syrah) possesses an opaque ruby/purple color as well as a thrilling texture and monumental length (the finish lasts over 60 seconds). it's a blockbuster, but everything is in perfect balance, and, remarkably, it comes across as the most accessible Reserve des Deux Freres made to date. This wine's aging is completely different from its sibling-s. Sixty percent is aged in 1, 2, and 3-year-old Burgundy barrels, and the rest in small new oak barrels, but there is not a hint of new oak in the aromatics. The bouquet reveals plenty of blackberry, blueberry, and cassis fruit intertwined with notions of melted licorice, spring flowers, and that classic garrigue note that comes across as the seaweed wrapper used in sushi restaurants, nori. There is a certain smokiness that is probably attributable to the oak, and the wine has incredible depth and richness, as well as a finish that seems endless. This extraordinary Chateauneuf du Pape is another prodigious effort in this historic vintage. It should drink well for two decades or more.Brothers Jean-Pierre and Thierry Usseglio have been accomplishing amazing things To reiterate, the 2007s are the most profound wines Thierry and Jean-Pierre have ever produced.Robert Parker | 100 RPGlass-staining ruby. A captivating bouquet evokes black and blue fruits with strong floral and spice accents. Lush, creamy and palate-coating, with sweet blackcurrant and boysenberry flavors, fully absorbed tannins and alluring spiciness. Tangy minerality adds bite and clarity to the finish, which is shockingly lithe for a wine with such palate impact. "This would be more Sophia Loren than Catherine Deneuve," says Usseglio.Vinous Media | 97 VMOffers a warm bread dough aroma, with very muscular-textured dark currant and fig sauce notes backed by a dense, licorice-filled finish. A very thick, broad style that scores points for its toasty, mocha-driven power, but lacks the racy vibrancy of the best. Best from 2010 through 2022. 250 cases made.Wine Spectator | 92 WS

100
RP
As low as $265.00
2007 rayas cdp Chateauneuf du Pape

This was a brilliant showing by the 2007 Châteauneuf du Pape Reserve from Rayas, the finest bottle I’ve had to date. Offering a classic ruby color as well as gorgeous notes of kirsch liqueur, sappy green herbs, flowers, and rose petals, this beauty hits the palate with a full-bodied, rich, yet also fresh and vibrant texture that carries nicely integrated acidity and fine tannin. It’s certainly one of the gems in this great vintage and is going to have a long life. I’d be thrilled to drink bottles any time over the coming 15+ years.Jeb Dunnuck | 98 JDI think the Rayas 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape will turn out to eclipse the 2005. It is unequivocally the finest wine made here since Emmanuel Reynaud’s uncle, the late Jacques Reynaud, produced his brilliant 1995. This wine was just released this year, with the 2008 coming on the market in the next few months. The 2007 is a relatively dark ruby/purple-tinged wine, more intensely colored than most Rayas Chateauneufs tend to be, since they are made from 100% Grenache and color has never been one of their hallmarks. The extraordinarily youthful and still burgeoning aromatics of black raspberries, black cherries, truffles and licorice lead to a full-bodied, powerful Rayas with sweet tannin, adequate acidity, and an ethereal richness and unctuosity that delicately offers a sensual texture. It is full-bodied, concentrated and approachable, but won’t hit its peak for at least another 4-5 years and will last for 25 or more. This is a spectacular Rayas, the likes of which hasn’t existed at this qualitative level since 1995.Robert Parker | 98 RPBright ruby. Red berry, cherry and Asian spice aromas are lifted by sexy notes of rose petal and blood orange. Impressively pure and perfumed, with remarkable precision and cut to its concentrated but lively flavors of cherry and black raspberry. The weightless, mineral-driven character of this wine is something else. In a distinctly delicate, feminine style, with superb finishing cut and energy. This will probably cost a fortune when it lands in the U.S. , unfortunately.Vinous Media | 97 VMA very elegant, perfumy style, with shiso leaf and mulled spice notes up front, followed by silky black cherry, linzer torte and kirsch flavors that glide through the incense-tinged finish. There’s good latent depth and fresh acidity without the headiness typical of the vintage. Best from 2012 through 2022. 250 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 93 WS

98
RP
As low as $2,475.00
2007 saint prefert cdp reserve auguste favier Rhone Red
96
RP
As low as $115.00
2009 clos saint jean cdp deus ex machina Chateauneuf du Pape

Also spectacular, but more evolved, the 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape Deus-Ex Machina reveals classic Provencal scents of roasted herbs, lavender, charcuterie, blackberries, licorice, kirsch and bouquet garni. This super-complex, layered, multidimensional wine possesses remarkable purity and richness as well as silky tannins. One of the most open-knit and forward Deus-Ex Machinas made to date, it will be difficult to resist when young, and should age well for 20+ years.If a prize were given to the Rhone Valley estate that had improved the most in the shortest period of time, it would undoubtedly go to that of Pascal and Vincent Maurel, who took over Clos Saint-Jean after their father passed away in 2002. Since then, they have made a succession of world-class wines that are out of this world. One of the largest estates in Chateauneuf du Pape, Clos Saint-Jean has an amazing number of old vine parcels in its 112+ acres (significant holdings in La Crau, in the eastern part of the appellation). No doubt the hiring of renowned oenologist Philippe Cambie has also increased the quality of these offerings. The 2010 Clos Saint-Jean Chateauneuf du Papes are phenomenal wines. The Maurel brothers believe they are as profound as the 2007s, and it is hard to disagree. Production is down considerably because of the loss of 25-30% of the Grenache crop due to poor flowering, but the levels of concentration, freshness and focus of these wines are remarkable. Moreover, the 2009s from bottle performed at the upper end of the ranges I had given them last year – always a sign of a terrific winery dedicated to high quality.Robert Parker | 99 RPNot yet bottled but tasted as a final blend, the 2009 Clos Saint Jean Châteauneuf-du-Pape Deus-Ex Machina, a blend of 60% tank aged Grenache and 40% barrel aged Mourvèdre, is more massive and structured than the La Combe des Fous, showing decadent cassis, blackberry, grilled meat, and touches of chocolate on its brooding, slightly backwards bouquet. Whereas the La Combe des Fous is perfumed and much more finesse driven, this is more in the style of a blockbuster, showing a powerful, full-bodied, rich feel, substantial underlying structure, and a very long, structured finish. This needs 2-3 years of bottle age, and should be incredibly long- lived.Jeb Dunnuck | 96-99 JDGlass-staining purple. Aromas and flavors of candied blueberry, boysenberry and licorice, with a sexy floral quality gaining power with air. Broad and extremely deep, with a velvety texture and mounting spiciness. Utterly seamless Chateauneuf with excellent finishing power and a lingering note of smoky minerality.Vinous Media | 94 VMDense but velvety, with gorgeous ganache and espresso giving way to dark fig, hoisin sauce and warm currant confiture. Lots of well-embedded charcoal and tobacco add cut and length to the hefty but driven finish. Grenache and Mourvèdre. Best from 2013 through 2024. 583 cases made.Wine Spectator | 94 WS

99
RP
As low as $155.00
2009 michel ogier cote rotie lancement Cote Rotie

The virtually perfect 2009 Cote Rotie Lancement Cote Blonde is stunningly perfumed with notes of black raspberries, blackberries, graphite, forest floor, tapenade and subtle smoke. Silky tannins, a phenomenal skyscraper-like mouthfeel and a sensational finish with light to moderate tannin suggest it will benefit from 2-4 more years of bottle age, and should drink well for two decades or more. Ogier's wines just keep getting better and better, so if you haven't yet jumped on the Ogier bandwagon, it's time to do so. Michel Ogier, and more recently his son, Stephane, are the leading craftsmen in terms of wines from the steep hillsides north of the old Roman town of Vienne. These are still entitled to only a VDP designation, but current vintages are the finest he has yet produced.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 99 RPA muscular red, with an almost brooding feel, as steeped blackberry and black currant fruit rolls along, spiked with pastis-soaked plum, charcoal and dark tobacco, followed by a long finish filled with black olive and iron. Riveting acidity keeps everything marching along with purpose. Shows terrific range and character. Best from 2014 through 2026. 30 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 96 WSOpaque ruby. Vibrant raspberry, cherry-vanilla and incense aromas are complemented by candied licorice and smoky minerals. Pliant, palate-staining red and dark berry preserve flavors are enlivened by Asian spices and a hint of blood orange. Shows outstanding clarity and cut, with gentle tannins adding shape and focus to the strikingly long, sweet, pure finish.Vinous Media | 95 VM

99
RP
As low as $299.00
2010 beaucastel cdp hommage a jacques perrin Rhone Red

No such issue exists with the perfect 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape Hommage a Jacques Perrin. I don’t know what more a wine could offer. Inky blue/purple, with an extraordinary nose of smoked duck, grilled steaks, Provencal herbs, blackberries, blueberries, kirsch, licorice and truffle, enormously massive, concentrated, full-bodied and built for 30-50 years of cellaring, this wine, which is dominated by its Mourvedre component, is a tour de force, a spectacular, world-class wine. It is going to require some patience, though, and seems to need 4-5 years of cellaring. It should again be almost ageless in its potential.As I said last year, the Perrin family is a large one indeed, with brothers Jean-Pierre and Francois sitting at the top of the hierarchy and their four sons, Mathieu, Pierre, Thomas and Marc increasingly taking charge of their negociant business and their extensive estates throughout Southern Rhone. Now controlling over 1200 acres, as well as having a network of contracts, this operation is the equivalent of a major Southern Rhone train operating at high speed. Moreover, they are doing some incredible work in all price ranges. Other 2011s that the Perrin boys have produced include the following wines, which were very good across the board, especially for 2011s. In particular, readers need to take a hard look at their estate in Vinsobres, which is making the finest wines of that appellation, and more recently, what they are doing in Gigondas with the estate they purchased there, Clos des Tourelles. These are special wines. There are now three cuvees of Gigondas from the Perrins - the Gigondas La Gille, the Gigondas Vieilles Vignes and the Gigondas Clos des Tourelles. All three merit serious attention. Tasting the 2010s, which were all set to go into bottle right after my visit, certainly shows that this vintage is impressive, although I’m not sure that Marc and Pierre Perrin haven’t done as good a job with their selections in 2011. Three cuvees of Gigondas look to all have outstanding potential and will probably be in bottle by the time this report is published.Robert Parker | 100 RPAnother perfect wine from this family is the 2010 Châteauneuf du Pape Hommage A Jacques Perrin, an incredibly concentrated, powerful, backward wine that’s just now starting to shed its baby fat and tannins. Massive notes of black and blue fruits, black truffle, ground pepper, and a beautiful sense of minerality all flow to a full-bodied, deep, awesome wine that has a huge mid-palate, riveting purity of fruit, and a finish that won’t quit. Incredibly classic in style and reminding me of a hypothetical mix of the 1989 and 1990, it can be drunk with incredible pleasure over the coming 30 years or more.Jeb Dunnuck | 100 JDBeginning to enter its second phase of life - there’s development here, but it’s still a bit dumb and inexpressive - don’t open it yet. Taking on some woodland notes, wet bark and turned earth. Very powerful on the palate, with perfectly ripe, massy tannins, incredible depth and length. Great freshness, huge power, such impact. It needs at least 15 years in bottle before opening, and 20 would be better. A monumental wine. Drinking Window 2025 - 2065.Decanter | 100 DEC(based on 70% mourvedre, with roughly 10% each of syrah, grenache and counoise): Bright ruby. A drop-dead, room-filling bouquet evokes black raspberry liqueur, incense, anise and lavender, with smoke and herb overtones. Sappy and penetrating, offering deeply pitched but lively dark berry and cherry flavors and an exotic touch of candied flowers. Fine-grained tannins come up with air and give grip to an endless, fruit- and mineral-dominated finish. This remarkable wine would be at the top of my Chateauneuf to-buy list this vintage if I had the resources to swim in such waters.Vinous Media | 97 VM

98+
RP
As low as $499.00
2010 chapoutier hermitage le pavillon Hermitage

Tasting like the concentrated blood from an aged and grilled strip steak, the 2010 Ermitage Le Pavillon boasts a black/purple color along with creme de cassis, camphor, pen ink, white flower and lead pencil shaving characteristics in its massive, full-bodied personality. It almost defies description because of its ethereal concentration and off-the-charts extract levels. This is not for the faint of heart, or those who lack patience, as it will require 10-15 years of bottle age, and, as previously stated, will keep for 50 or more. There are just over 1,000 cases of the 2010 Le Pavillon, another perfect wine in the constellation of profound wines produced by Michel Chapoutier.In November of this year, Michel Chapoutier finally made the cover of The Wine Spectator. The accompanying article said essentially the same things I had written about over twenty years ago. More importantly, I am thrilled that Chapoutier received this attention because it has long been deserved. History will record that Michel Chapoutier is a revolutionary. He is also a highly emotional man whose infectious love of primitive art, historic books, classical music and, of course, terroir and winemaking are seemingly impossible to harness. Michel Chapoutier was among the first in France to embrace the radical biodynamic agricultural teachings, for which he was initially criticized, but is now praised. He was also the first to print all his labels in Braille, something that cynics considered to be a gimmick, but ask the National Association for the Blind what they think. Coming from a famous family, but moving in a direction unlike any of its previous members, Michel Chapoutier is self-taught. What he has accomplished over the last two decades or more is one of the great wine stories of the modern era. With all his outgoing, boisterous, machine-gun-speed prose that can sometimes sound shockingly cocky, and at other times reminiscent of the famous Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran, there is never a dull moment around Chapoutier., who makes comments such as “Filtering wine is like making love with a condom,” and “Acidifying wine is like putting a suit of armor on the vineyard’s terroir, vintage character and the cepage.” Don’t blame him if his brilliant intellect and shocking vocabulary put his visitors on the defensive. Michel Chapoutier has proven through his genius, the faith of his convictions and backbreaking attention to detail in his vineyards and in the winery that a once moribund negociant (yet with significant vineyard holdings) could become a beacon of inspiration and quality for the entire world. In short, every wine consumer in the world should admire his accomplishments. All of Chapoutier’s lower level 2010 whites and basic reds have long been sold out, so to keep the tasting somewhat limited during my visit, we focused on the more recently released 2010 white and red selections parcellaires and nearly all the 2011s. As for the 2010 selection parcellaire whites, they are spectacular. Le Pavillon, once called Rochefine and owned by Jaboulet-Verchere, consists of 10 acres of pure granite in the famed Les Bessards, which is considered by many to be the single greatest terroir of Hermitage. The Ermitage Le Pavillon, which is meant to age for 50+ years, is Michel Chapoutier’s legacy, and he is confident that history will support his belief in this extraordinary wine. Michel Chapoutier is not alone in believing the 2011s may resemble a more modern day version of 1991. That vintage was largely underrated by just about everybody (except yours truly) because all the accolades and hyperbole were largely bestowed on both 1989 and 1990 (deservedly), but in the Northern Rhone 1991 turned out to be a strikingly superb vintage for Cote Rotie, Hermitage, Cornas and Condrieu. In the Southern Rhone, the vintage was largely a disaster. Following is an overview of what to expect with the inexpensive 2011 whites and reds. Most of these wines do not have the weight, power or tannic structure of the 2010s, but they are by no means diluted or wimpish wines. They tend to be charming, fruit-forward and seductive, and thus may be preferred by consumers looking for immediate gratification. Although the first few wines reviewed are Southern Rhones, they need to be covered because they are in bottle, and I did not review them in issue 203. Along with several other producers, Michel Chapoutier has helped increase the world’s attention to the long-forgotten, microscopic appellation of St.-Peray. Chapoutier produces a bevy of St.-Perays under his own name as well as in partnership with two three-star chefs, Sophie Pic, of the Restaurant Pic in Valence (as well as several culinary branches in Paris and Lausanne, Switzerland), and Yannick Alleno, the brilliant chef at the Hotel Le Meurice’s in Paris. The red 2011 selections parcellaires are already fruit-forward and seductive. Readers should love them as they are much more evolved than the more structured, powerful, dense, tannic 2010s.Robert Parker | 100 RP(M Chapoutier, Le Pavillon, Hermitage, Rhône, France, Red) Sometimes the setting in which you taste a wine helps to fix it in your mind. I tasted this at the Chapel of Saint Christopher on the hill of Hermitage, looking down over the vineyards - a magical spot at the best of times. I was expecting this to be quite closed and introspective, but it's already unfurling, and beginning its first drinking window, quite mature in colour, open and ready for business. It has a beautifully aromatic nose, complex notes of plum, blackberry, glove leather, black olive tapenade and a little hedgerow. Very fresh and alive. Great impact and concentration on the palate, remarkably saline, very intense, but so lively and vivid. Texturally it's velvety, saline, bright and pixelated. Long finish. A hugely complex and dynamic wine, the spirit of Hermitage. (Drink between 2020-2034)Decanter | 99 DECDensely packed, with zesty loganberry, blueberry coulis, plum skin and blackberry paste flavors, presenting a hefty backdrop of ganache and graphite that takes over on the very long finish. A lovely alder note echoes in the background. Best from 2018 through 2028. 43 cases imported. — JMWine Spectator | 97 WSInky purple. Heady, exotically perfumed aromas of ripe dark berries, candied flowers, Indian spices and cracked pepper. Stains the palate with intense blackberry and boysenberry flavors, picking up a sweet violet pastille note with aeration. Dense but lively and strikingly precise given its concentration. Shows superb finishing energy and focus, closing with amazing length and slow-building, harmonious tannins. This wine is built for the long haul; I wouldn't touch it for at least another decade.Vinous Media | 96 VM

100
RP
As low as $439.00
2010 clape cornas Rhone Red

Eclipsing even the 2009, the 2010 Cornas achieved one of the highest natural alcohol levels (14%) ever recorded at Clape. This complex, inky/purple-colored effort boasts abundant notes of charcoal, licorice, blackberries and blueberries intermixed with a hint of scorched earth (or is it charcoal embers?), a full-bodied mouthfeel, a seamless personality and a crushed rock-like minerality. The tannins are so sweet it will be drinkable in 2-3 years, and should keep for 25 or more. It is a tour de force in what Syrah can achieve in this hallowed appellation. Kudos to the Clape family, especially Pierre-Marie.An historic reference point in Cornas is the estate of the retired Auguste Clape, which has been run over the last decade by his talented son, Pierre-Marie. This estate may have produced their finest wines to date in 2009, but the 2011s and 2010s rival anything produced at this family-owned, tiny boutique producer. They offer two cuvees of Cornas with the Renaissance representing their younger vines (although most of those are between 30 and 50 years of age). The top cuvee, simply called Cornas, has been a favorite of mine since the late seventies.Robert Parker | 100 RPAn exceptional vintage in the Northern Rhône has produced a very full, lush and ripe style here. It has all the tannin and structure you could hope for, and it’s searingly fresh, with delicious juicy berry fruits and an exceptionally long finish. It’s a tempestuous style, ferric and violet-tinged at the same time. A great vintage for Clape, a soaring wine. Drinking Window 2023 - 2045.Decanter | 99 DECA fantastic wine from an epic vintage, the 2010 Clape Cornas is still at least five years away from hitting its stride, and I suspect it will still be impressing lucky wine-lovers for at least a decade after that. A hugely perfumed bouquet evokes ripe black/blue fruits, candied flowers, incense, olive paste and Moroccan spices, with only a hint of gaminess in the background. Deeply concentrated and energetic, there’s an uncanny balance of richness and energy to the sweet black currant, cherry preserve and fruitcake flavors. Fine-grained tannins make a late appearance but are quickly absorbed by the lush, creamy fruit. I’d be in no hurry to drink this, but with a bit of aeration it’s a stunner.Vinous Media | 98 VMRock-solid and well-built, with a frame of charcoal and tar around a core of dark plum, blackberry and black currant fruit, revealing loads of tobacco, singed bay leaf and graphite notes in reserve. This should age beautifully, showing excellent range, character and definition. Best from 2017 through 2030. 228 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 97 WS

100
RP
As low as $445.00
2010 clos des papes cdp Rhone Red

The 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape flirts with perfection. A classic blend of 65% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre and the rest Syrah, Vaccarese and Counoise, all aged in large foudres in Clos des Papes’s air-conditioned and humidity-controlled wine cellar, the wine boasts a dense purple color along with lots of gorgeously pure black raspberry, black currant and kirsch liqueur notes intermixed with notions of spring flowers, tapenade, licorice and spice box. This dense, full-bodied, powerful Chateauneuf is also remarkably fresh and well-delineated. It even exceeded the 2007 in natural alcohol, coming in at 15.9%. With an extraordinary texture and considerable tannin in the finish, it will benefit from 3-5 years of bottle age, and is built for 25-30 years of cellaring. Don’t miss it!This admirably run estate has essentially been practicing biodynamic farming for nearly 15 years, but they were not certified as biodynamic until 2011.Robert Parker | 99 RP(Clos Des Papes Chateauneuf Du Pape) Utterly classic Clos de Papes in every way, the 2010 Châteauneuf du Pape is still youthful and in its early adolescent phase, offering a beautiful mix of still pure, clean fruit and more peppery, spicy, leather, and complex Southern Rhône-like street market goodness. Rich and powerful on the palate, it’s flawlessly balanced, has ripe, polished tannins, and a monster of a finish. It’s just a beautiful, quintessential example of this First Growth-like estate in the South of France.Jeb Dunnuck | 99 JDLots of cocoa powder and coffee frame a massive block of dark plum, black currant and fig fruit, while massively endowed tannins stride from start to finish. Cassis, anise and Lapsang souchong tea notes hang in the background for now, but should emerge more with extended cellaring. The very dark, almost brooding finish is dominated by charcoal-coated grip, but the purity still wins out in the end. A very, very large wine. Best from 2017 through 2035. 5,600 cases made, 710 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 98 WSUndoubtedly one of the greatest Châteauneuf vintages of recent times, up there with the 1990 - and perhaps the 2016; time will tell. It’s deeply coloured still at seven years of age. Deep, dark and brooding on the nose, it’s starting to take on some balsamic and forest floor notes. The palate is very harmonious, powerful and assertive, with firm, structural tannins. This is still very fresh, sinewy and tightly wound - it’s not ready yet, but will be spectacular when it is. Drinking Window 2020 - 2040.Decanter | 98 DECInky ruby. Potent, intensely perfumed aromas on raspberry liqueur, cherry-cola, anise and smoky garrigue. Spicy and incisive, offering palate-staining red and dark berry flavors that become richer with air. Shows a superb balance of richness and vivacity, with dusty tannins giving grip to a long, spice- and floral-dominated finish. One of the top wines from the entire Rhone from this outstanding vintage.Vinous Media | 96 VM

99+
RP
As low as $215.00
2010 domaine grand veneur cdp vieilles vignes Chateauneuf du Pape

A monumental effort meriting a perfect score, the super-rich 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes is a 4,000-bottle blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Mourvedre and 10% Syrah from 55- to 105-year-old vines and was aged for 18 months in small oak. The wine offers majestic blackberry and cassis fruit intermixed with kirsch, licorice and subtle Provencal herbs in the background. It is akin to chewing meat in the mouth given its viscosity and thickness. This utterly amazing wine comes close to being over the top, but it pulls back just in time. A massive Chateauneuf du Pape (even for a 2010), it needs 5-6 years of cellaring and should age effortlessly for 25-30 years. Bravo!With impressive holdings in the northern sector of Chateauneuf du Pape as well as an ever expanding, high quality negociant business, brothers Christophe and Sebastian Jaume have taken this estate, established in 1826, to new heights. The estate wines, which are sold under the Domaine Grand Veneur label, are classic, quasi-modern-styled Chateauneuf du Papes that represent brilliant examples of their impeccable viticulture and winemaking. Interestingly, all three cuvees of Chateauneuf du Pape were produced in 2011. That decision appears to be justified by the quality of what I tasted as well as their potential for extended maturity beyond a decade. As for the 2010s, the Alain Jaume offerings and the Domaine Grand Veneur Cotes du Rhone cuvees were all reviewed in my report on the wines of Kysela Pere et Fils in Issue #201. The 2010 Domaine Grand Veneur estate wines, especially the Chateauneuf du Papes, are brilliant.Robert Parker | 100 RPI absolutely loved this wine on release (I rated it 98+) and it certainly didn’t disappoint on this occasion. Made from a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Mourvèdre and 10% Syrah that spent 18 months in mostly new barrels, this tour de force gives up killer notes of blackcurrants, scorched earth, wood smoke, cured meats and wild herbs. Deep, rich and concentrated, yet opulent and expansive, it’s just now starting to round the corner and is at the early stages of maturity. It will keep for another 15+ years.Jeb Dunnuck | 99 JDOpaque purple. Deeply pitched aromas of dark berry liqueur, cherry-cola, lavender and vanilla, with a spicy topnote. Fleshy, palate-staining blueberry and cassis flavors are lifted by juicy acidity and pick up a smoky quality with air. Supple and expansive on the endless finish, which strongly echoes the dark fruit and vanilla notes.Vinous Media | 95 VMRipe and packed, but well-focused, with a broad beam of linzer torte and boysenberry fruit backed by graphite, violet and pastis notes. Picks up plenty of muscle and toasted spice on the finish, showing lots of latent depth in reserve. Very solid. Best from 2014 through 2024. 250 cases made, 40 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 93 WS

100
RP
As low as $569.00
2010 guigal cote rotie chateau dampuis Cote Rotie

More closed than when I tasted it earlier this year, the 2010 Cote Rotie Chateau d’Ampuis is an incredible effort that’s made from 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. Coming from the estate’s top sites and aged 38 months in new oak, it has no problem standing beside the top three single-vineyard releases. Crème de cassis, vanilla bean, smoked meats and licorice all flow to a full-bodied, beautifully concentrated, structured Cote Rotie that needs another 5-6 years of bottle age, but will keep for 2-3 decades.Robert Parker | 99 RPRock-solid, offering dark currant and blackberry paste flavors that race along, thanks to well-embedded graphite and charcoal notes. The finish lets warm fruitcake, plum skin and singed juniper details fill in, with plenty of grip. Mouthwatering acidity and a long echo of sweet tapenade keep this racy and defined. Best from 2015 through 2035. 2,200 cases made, 300 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 97 WSGlass-staining ruby. Potent raspberry, floral pastille and Asian spice scents are complicated by suggestions of mocha, licorice and pipe tobacco. Silky and expansive on the palate, offering sweet red fruit liqueur and cherry-vanilla flavors lifted and sharpened by juicy acidity. Finishes broad, seamless and extremely long, with slow-building tannins adding shape and grip. This expressive wine drinks very well now but has the concentration and structure to age.Vinous Media | 94 VM

99
RP
As low as $189.00
2010 henri bonneau chateauneuf du pape celestins Chateauneuf du Pape

Schedule to be bottled next week (I suspect it will be in bottle by the time you read this), the 2010 Châteauneuf du Pape Reserve des Celestins is a sensational effort. Deeper, richer and more concentrated than the Marie Beurrier, it reveals an unusually inky ruby/purple color to go with overflowing notes of kirsch liqueur, roasted meats, crushed flowers, garrigue and just about every other Provençal spice you could name. Full-bodied, beautifully concentrated, layered and a blockbuster-styled effort, it should surpass the 2007 and possibly rival the 1990. This is a tour de force in Châteauneuf du Pape!Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 97-99 RPThis is a big wine, driving with strong acidity and tannins that provide a firm, dry base. This is taking on some earthy, spicy character with alcohol that is a touch high. Still needs time. Leave until at least 2022.Decanter | 96 DECSchedule to be bottled next week (I suspect it will be in bottle by the time you read this), the 2010 Châteauneuf du Pape Reserve des Celestins is a sensational effort. Deeper, richer and more concentrated than the Marie Beurrier, it reveals an unusually inky ruby/purple color to go with overflowing notes of kirsch liqueur, roasted meats, crushed flowers, garrigue and just about every other Provençal spice you could name. Full-bodied, beautifully concentrated, layered and a blockbuster-styled effort, it should surpass the 2007 and possibly rival the 1990. This is a tour de force in Châteauneuf du Pape!Vinous Media | 95 VM

97-99
RP
As low as $699.00
2010 michel ogier cote rotie lancement Cote Rotie

Absolutely remarkable is the 100% destemmed 2010 Cote Rotie Lancement Cote Blonde which sees 50% new oak barrels (175-200 cases produced). It offers spectacular aromas of bacon fat, tapenade, cassis, raspberry jam, graphite, subtle smoke and a hint of acacia flowers. Dense, opulent and full-bodied with decent acidity and sweet, velvety tannin, this stunning wine may merit a perfect score when released.Ogier's wines just keep getting better and better, so if you haven't yet jumped on the Ogier bandwagon, it's time to do so. Michel Ogier, and more recently his son, Stephane, are the leading craftsmen in terms of wines from the steep hillsides north of the old Roman town of Vienne. These are still entitled to only a VDP designation, but current vintages are the finest he has yet produced.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 100 RPInky ruby. Powerful, expansive aromas of raspberry liqueur, Asian spices, sandalwood and smoky minerals, with an exotic floral nuance that gains power with air. Deeply concentrated but lively, offering palate-staining red fruit and floral pastille flavors and a strong spicy quality. Fine-grained tannins add grip to an incredibly long, sappy and penetrating finish, which clings with remarkable tenacity. One of the great wines of the Rhone from this outstanding vintage.Vinous Media | 97 VMShows stunning depth and richness, with loads of velvety tannins carrying waves of blackberry, fig and dark plum confiture flavors. The long finish cruises throughout, with charcoal, black tea and roasted alder notes all deftly inlaid. An echo of iron lingers. Best from 2017 through 2035. 20 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 97 WS

99
RP
As low as $299.00
2010 rayas cdp Rhone Red

Showing more finesse and elegance than the Pignan, yet still with plenty of density and concentration, the 2010 Châteauneuf Du Pape Reserve is a sensational effort from this estate that has a kaleidoscope-like array of framboise, darker cherries, sappy flowers, garrigue, and spice. Opening up beautifully with time in the glass as well, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a layered, multi-dimensional texture, silky tannins, and a great finish. Reminding me slightly of the 1990, it is heavenly today and will be heavenly in another 15+ years as well.Jeb Dunnuck | 98 JDVivid ruby. An explosively perfumed bouquet displays red and dark berry preserves, potpourri, licorice and smoky minerals. Broad and fleshy, offering deeply concentrated black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors and a strong note of floral pastilles. Chewy tannins give grip to a powerful, alluringly sweet, endless finish. Shows as much density as I can recall from a young Rayas and is clearly built for the long haul.Vinous Media | 96+ VMThe three component parts of the 2010 Rayas Chateauneuf du Pape show it to be a deeply colored vintage with terrific fruit intensity of licorice, raspberries and sweet, jammy cherries. Medium to full-bodied and ripe with 15+% natural alcohol and sweet, soft tannins, this ethereal 2010 is reminiscent of the 2005 although the tannins in the 2010 are more silky.(Not yet released)One of the world’s most mysterious estates is Chateau Rayas. This small 30-acre estate is owned by the Reynaud family, which dates back to the late 19th century,. The estate has always had an image of secrecy and seclusion. Following the death of Jacques Reynaud in 1997, his nephew, Emmanuel took over, and he continues to produce wines that go from strength to strength. A cool climate property in a hot zone, Rayas is tucked away in a forest with its vineyards basically one parcel of sandy soil. Emmanuel Reynaud, who is also the proprietor of the outstanding Vacqueyras estate called Domaine des Tours, has the same eccentric idiosyncracies as his uncle. It is not as difficult to get an appointment to visit Rayas as many people think, and I highly recommend it as it is always a fascinating place to visit. After 25 years, I never cease to be amazed by what emerges from these decrepit, old, haphazard cellars that look like a biohazard room in a video game. They don’t win the top prize for the dirtiest cellars in Chateauneuf du Pape (that goes to Henri Bonneau), but Rayas is a close second. Modern-day oenology graduates would be horrified by -working conditions,- but the magic elixirs to emerge from these ancient barrels, demi-muids and foudres are wondrous. On this trip, I tasted through the component parts of the 2010s, another top vintage for Rayas. Production was tiny, and the harvest was extremely late. In fact, Emmanuel Reynaud told me that 2011 would be at least ten days in advance of 2010. The 2009s, which have all been bottled, have turned out to be spectacular, and I tend to think the 2009 Rayas could turn out to be the greatest wine made by Emmanuel, even eclipsing the 2007.Robert Parker | 94-97 RP

98
JD
As low as $1,899.00

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