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Rhone Collector Wines

Rhone Collector Wines

Rhone Collector Wines

Rhone Collector Wines

The Rhône valley is one of France’s finest winemaking regions, and nowhere is this better demonstrated than in how many collectible blends they regularly create. It’s separated into the Northern Rhône and Southern Rhône subregions, and each is characterized by the grape varietals they favor. For example, red wines from the Northern Rhône are typically made from Syrah grapes, whereas Southern Rhône prefers to blend together several different grapes for their illustrious reds. Taking a trip to the Rhône valley is a cultural experience like no other for an aspiring wine enthusiast. The feeling of raw wilderness flows through the air itself here, and this is reflected in the powerful flavors of Rhône’s finest blends.

A bottle of Chateau Beaucastel’s finest from 2000 is one of the best wines to ever come out of this region, and that’s saying a lot. The texture alone is enough to puzzle even scholars, as they struggle to decipher how it all came together. Alternatively, a 2003 Pegau can cause an emotional surge that normally requires a person to fall in love, and is ideal for lighting that initial spark between potential partners. The flavor is so pure, thick, and sensuous, and the wine creates an aroma that inspires intimacy and infatuation.

If you’re unable to travel to the Rhône valley directly, the next best thing is sampling and collecting some of their finest products. That’s where we come in – your wine enthusiasm fuels ours, and we want nothing more than to bring you closer to amazing, culturally significant wines, so that your collection may outshine all of your friends and rivals. These wines are almost too good to drink, but we’re sure you can bring yourself to indulge now and then. Enjoy.
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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
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
1999 M. Chapoutier Ermitage L'Ermite Blanc

This is one of the greatest dry white wines I have ever tasted. The 1999 Ermitage l’Ermite is a liquid mineral, crystalline expression. It is the essence of its grape as well as terroir. It may be the greatest expression of terroir I have seen outside of a handful of Alsatian Rieslings (Clos Ste. Hune comes to mind). It has that transparent character that terroiristes talk more about than actually recognize. Drinking it is like consuming a liquified stony concoction mixed with white flowers, licorice, and honeyed fruits. It is frightfully pure, dense, and well-delineated. As I said last year, "There is no real fruit character, just glycerin, alcohol, and liquid stones." That’s about it, but, wow, what an expression! Anticipated maturity: 2012-2050. This is for the connoisseur of rare wines. Along with Gerard and Jean-Louis Chave, Chapoutier is producing the finest expressions of white Hermitage. His single vineyard cuvees are to die for if you like these eccentric, idiosyncratic, mammoth dry whites.Robert Parker | 100 RPNo written review provided. | 93 W&SBeautiful. Thick, yet so reserved aromatically, with plenty of honey, mineral, macadamia nut, pear tart and passion fruit. What makes it a winner is the opulent, smooth texture. Drink now through 2010. 380 cases made.Wine Spectator | 92 WS(from 70-to-80-year-old vines planted on granite soil; done entirely in new barriques) Spiced apple, minerals and toffee on the nose. Bright, firm, minerally and quite stylish. Very fine in the mouth and on the suave finish, which features oak notes of cinnamon and nutmeg.Vinous Media | 90+ VMYou call it Hermitage, they call it Ermitage; regardless, this is one smooth, waxy wine with mature peach aromas and papaya flavors that spread across your palate like sea foam on the beach. The toasty finish is soft and subdued, with hints of licorice and pepper. Quite complex and idiosyncratic; it’s the polar opposite of “mainstream.” Wine Enthusiast | 90 WE

100
RP
As low as $1,399.00
2000 chapoutier ermitage de loree Hermitage

These wines usually flirt with perfection, which is the case with the 2000 Ermitage Cuvee de l’Oree. It boasts an amazing nose of licorice, minerals, acacia flowers, honeysuckle, and a hint of butter. Unctuously-textured and full-bodied, with great intensity and purity, yet remarkably light on its feet, it can be drunk over the next 3-4 years, then forgotten for a decade, after which it will last for 40-50 years.Year in and year out, one of the most profound white Hermitages produced is Chapoutier’s Cuvee de l’Oree. These are controversial dry whites because they tend to taste great young, go into a funky, nearly oxidized stage, and re-emerge at age 10-15 as full-blown, waxy, honeyed, dry wines with the potential to age for 20-50 years.This offering is typically made from exceedingly low yields of 12-15 hectoliters per hectare. Chapoutier has moved from small oak barrels to the 650-liter Burgundy barrels known as demi-muids, which are essentially the equivalent of three regular barrels.These uncompromising offerings from a young genius are not meant for consumers who want something to drink immediately. They are the essence of bio-dynamically farmed vineyard sites cropped incredibly low, given extended fermentations with indigenous yeasts, and rarely touched until they go into the bottle unfined and unfiltered. In most vintages, the wines are not even racked off their lees, which only adds to their natural style. These are truly remarkable wines, but for most readers, patience is the operative rule as they generally need a good 8-10 years to strut their stuff.Once moribund, over the last 12 years, this firm has become one of the reference points for nearly all the Rhone Valley appellations since the brash yet immensely talented Michel Chapoutier took over in the late eighties. The single vineyard offerings are as good as Rhone Valley wines can be. Moreover, Chapoutier continues to upgrade the quality of those wines offered in more significant quantities than the 500 or so cases each of the single vineyard offerings.Robert Parker | 100 RPClosed and tight at first but opened slightly with air. Very rich with stone fruit notes, earth, minerals, smoke and buttery notes. Just an amazing, full bodied palate. Soft, full and seamless with a killer long finish.Jeb Dunnuck | 95 JDChapoutier has chosen the old-fashioned spelling for this big, brooding bomber that will likely wow some yet might fail to impress others. We liked its heft and swagger, and we project that it will age well and do wonders for proper food accompaniments. The nose is all wood smoke, lacquer and butter, while apple, banana and white pepper dominate the flavor range. Very powerful and quite idiosyncratic. A cookie-cutter white it's not, as it deserves time to unfold.Wine Enthusiast | 92 WE(bottled in September) Vibrant fruit aromas complicated by a note of butterscotch. Complex flavors of candied fruits and lemon; quite discreet today but with a distinct aspect of surmaturite Manages to wear its 14.5% alcohol fairly gracefully. Still, this rather backward wine is a bit warm on the back end.Vinous Media | 90+ VM

100
RP
As low as $325.00
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
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
2005 guigal cote rotie la mouline Cote Rotie

Doing everything right and one of the best young wines I’ve ever tasted, the 2005 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Mouline offers extraordinarily complex and nuanced aromatics of smoked bacon, chocolate, toast, and hints of flowers that are integrated perfectly with the deep raspberry and blackberry fruit profile that only Côte-Rôtie can deliver. Full bodied, dense, concentrated, and seamless on the palate, with a gorgeously suave and silky texture, perfect balance, and ultra fine tannin structure. Despite the structure here, this maintains a subtle elegance and weightlessness that is nothing short of captivating. An awesome wine, I would cellar bottles for a decade, and then drink over the following 20 or so years.Jeb Dunnuck | 100 JDSimilar to the powerful 1988, the inky/purple-colored, dense 2005 Cote Rotie La Mouline offers a stunning perfume of espresso roast, licorice, pepper, blackberries, and black cherries intermixed with hints of chocolate and spring flowers. Powerful, super-concentrated, and ruggedly-constructed with a boatload of tannin, this is a wine to forget for 4-5 years, and drink over the following 25-30. It is the densest, most tannic vintage of La Mouline since 1988.Robert Parker | 100 RPExtremely dense, with Turkish coffee and bittersweet cocoa notes leading the way for a huge core of macerated plum and currant fruit, with warm fig reduction and hoisin sauce notes. The long, graphite- and toast-driven finish sails on and on. Best from 2012 through 2030. 415 cases made.Wine Spectator | 99 WSVivid ruby. Sexy black raspberry and floral aromas are complicated by smoky minerals, Asian spices and a whiff of smoke. Silky, alluringly sweet red and dark berry flavors pack serious punch but come off as weightless, with tangy minerality adding spine and precision. Showing more elegance than last year: its finishing lift, clarity and sweetness comes across as distinctly Burgundian. This suave wine is surprisingly open-knit but I'd wait a while before opening a bottle.Vinous Media | 96 VM

100
RP
As low as $689.00
2007 pegau cdp cuvee de capo Rhone Red
100
RP
As low as $499.00
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 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 guigal cote rotie la turque Cote Rotie

While this vintage wasn’t a slam dunk for the Northern Rhône like it was in the Southern Rhône, the 2007 Côte Rôtie La Turque is straight-up brilliant juice and a candidate for the wine of the vintage. Upfront and ready to go, with rocking notes of smoked meats, black olives, truffle oil, blackberries, and blackcurrants, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, no hard edges, and a seamless, silky texture that needs to be tasted to be believed. It’s a gorgeous wine in every sense. Drink it over the coming 15-20 years.Jeb Dunnuck | 97 JDThe 2007 Cote Rotie La Turque’s inky/blue/purple color is followed by aromas of asphalt, charcoal, graphite, barbecue smoke, roasted meats/aged beef, blackberries, cassis and violets. With huge body, massive concentration, silky tannins, sweet glycerin and a layered, multidimensional mouthfeel, it can be drunk now or cellared for 25 years.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 RPVery distinctive, with ganache and espresso aromas and well-structured layers of blackberry, mulled plum, roasted spice, anise and charred apple wood. This has ample grip, but stays polished and integrated, allowing for an almost caressing mouthfeel despite its obvious density. One of the most concentrated wines in the vintage. Best from 2012 through 2025. 400 cases made.Wine Spectator | 96 WSOpaque ruby. Dark berries, cherry-cola, licorice and Indian spices on the pungent nose. Deeply pitched blackberry and floral and licorice pastille flavors brighten with air and show an intense spicy quality, along with a touch of mocha. Clings tenaciously on the finish, which strongly repeats the cherry and licorice notes. In a more brooding style than the Mouline and years away from maturity.Vinous Media | 93+ VM

97
RP
As low as $395.00
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
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
2009 guigal cote rotie la turque Cote Rotie

Another perfect wine is the 2009 Cote Rotie La Turque. It possesses a slightly denser purple color than the opaque Cote Rotie La Mouline as well as notes of Asian spices, roasted meats, bouquet garni, spring flowers, camphor and truffles. It is a different expression of Syrah as this comes from the more iron-laden soils of the Cote Brune. Although never as aromatic, precocious or enjoyable as La Mouline is in its youth, La Turque is, nevertheless, a remarkably concentrated, profound wine that is built like a skyscraper. It possesses a level of intensity and richness that must be tasted to be believed. Despite the flamboyant personality of the vintage, the 2009 will require 4-5 years of cellaring and should age effortlessly for 25-30 years.Robert Parker | 100 RPPossibly my favorite vintage ever for the Northern Rhône (2010 and 2015 are both in the running), the 2009 Côte Rôtie La Turque is a mammoth of wine that offers everything you could want. Deep purple/plum-hued, this full-bodied, thick, opulent Côte Rôtie offers loads of sweet tannins, a deep, layered mid-palate, and straight-up heavenly notes of smoked meats, Asian spices, bacon fat, espresso roast, and loads of sweet, perfectly ripe black fruits. It’s much more opulent and sexy than the more classically built 2010 (and 2005 and 2015) and if this doesn’t put a smile on your face, I don’t know what will. It’s going to shine for another 2-3 decades.Jeb Dunnuck | 100 JDA pure, unadulterated raspberry confiture aroma and flavor is the dominant note today in this deep and expressive red, with extra singed anise, alder, juniper and black currant notes filling in the background, followed by a very dense yet supremely polished finish. Features the weight and density of this fleshy vintage, but the fruit is so inviting this is almost approachable now. Better to wait though. Best from 2015 through 2035. 400 cases made.Wine Spectator | 98 WSDark purple. Sexy, expansive aromas of boysenberry, violet and incense, with a bright mineral quality adding lift. Offers an array of ripe, luscious black and blue fruit and floral flavors that become spicier with air. Sappy, broad and sweet on the gently tannic finish, which shows superb clarity and persistence.Vinous Media | 95 VM

100
RP
As low as $625.00
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 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 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
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 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 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 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
2011 chapoutier hermitage le meal blanc Hermitage

Surprisingly, I preferred the 2011 Ermitage le Meal Blanc over the 2012 on this occasion and it showed a more flamboyant, sexy style in its caramelized pineapple, tropical, honeyed and floral personality. Big, rich and decadent, with fabulous fruit intensity and length, this rock star flirts with perfection and will keep for another 3-4 decades.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 99 RPVivid gold. Heady orchard and pit fruit aromas are complicated by anise, buttered toast and iodine, with a sexy floral nuance emerging with aeration. Fleshy and deeply pitched, offering wonderfully concentrated pear, nectarine and melon flavors and a zesty jolt of orange pith on the back half. Closes with superb energy and a very persistent honeydew note. I’d love to try this superb wine alongside some heavy-hitters from the Cote d’Or.Vinous Media | 94 VMA matchstick hint gives way to creamed apple, melon, heather and salted butter notes. Offers weight, depth and definition, opening up pleasantly in the glass. The long finish has a creamy feel. Drink now through 2022. 27 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 94 WS

99
RP
As low as $239.00
2012 beaucastel cdp hommage a jacques perrin Chateauneuf du Pape

The wine of the vintage is the Perrin’s 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape Hommage A Jacques Perrin, and it will most likely merit a perfect rating in another couple of years. Full-bodied, massive and layered on the palate, with awesome purity and freshness, it delivers incredible aromatics of beef blood, truffle, graphite, iron and black and blue fruits. Given all of the fruit and texture, you almost have to hunt for the structure here, but trust me, it’s there. The tasting at Beaucastel took place a 9 a.m., and even then, this is one wine I found impossible to spit. It’s a tour de force that will have 3-4 decades of life.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 99 RPThe wine of the vintage is the Perrins’ 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape Hommage A Jacques Perrin, which has a classic, sexy, accessible style yet is also going to age beautifully. Massive amounts of smoked black fruits, ground pepper, iodine, truffle, and bloody meat all emerge from this inky colored behemoth. With full body, building tannins, no hard edges, and a rock star of a finish, it’s primary and youthful, but incredible. Ideally, it would be given another 4-5 years of bottle age and will keep for another 3 decades or more. It’s an awesome wine!Jeb Dunnuck | 99 JDSpice, lift and zest - the hallmarks of the vintage are immediately apparent on the nose. Some woody, roasted spices are starting to take root now, along with damsons, and crushed damson stones. Rounded, rich and plush on the palate, all very well integrated, such delicious, intense juice. The alcohol is high but it gives the wine its foundation this year - a jolly, red-cheeked vintage built around alcohol, but not dominated by it. Delicious now, will be even better later. Drinking Window 2020 - 2036Decanter | 99 DECLots of spices such as cloves and black pepper. Some grilled meat as well. Complex undertones of mushrooms. Full-bodied, complex and refined yet very open now with cherry, sweet and ripe fruit and a balanced finish. Excellent acidity and length. Drink or hold.James Suckling | 97 JSDark purple. Powerful aromas of cherry liqueur, licorice pastille and pungent flowers, with exotic Indian spice and mocha overtones. Dense, sweet and broad, offering intense black and blue fruit preserve, violet and spicecake flavors enlivened by juicy acidity. Fine-grained tannins build slowly through the clinging, appealingly sweet finish, which shows outstanding clarity and persistence and lingering florality. One of the standouts of the vintage and surprisingly approachable for this bottling, although drinking it before its tenth birthday would seem like a shame to me.Vinous Media | 96 VMSerious, with dark fig, black currant and blackberry confiture notes forming a large-scale core, while licorice snap, Turkish coffee and pastis details lend an expansive feel. The long, dense finish has a brooding personality now, with a warm cast-iron note echoing. Should be a stunner when it reaches its peak. Best from 2019 through 2032. 500 cases made.Wine Spectator | 96 WS

99
RP
As low as $349.00

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