This vintage favors Mourvedre but stays true to red-fruit domination, with raspberries and cherries on the nose alongside tree bark and cedar. Full-bodied and powerful, Jeb Dunnuck notes the “remarkable purity of fruit, and a blockbuster finish. It’s going to rank with some of the top wines in this vintage.” Aged in demi-muids for 18 months and begging for another few years in your cellar, this silky sleeping beauty will be a pleasure to awaken.
We came, we saw, we tasted. After an exhaustive week spent traversing the cellars of France, we thought that the tank was empty. So much glorious wine… we couldn’t possibly be impressed yet again, right? Then we fell silent during the tasting at Clos du Caillou and later agreed that, overall, it was probably the most impressive lineup in a trip full of impressive lineups. Caillou sits in a legendary neighborhood in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, their ancient vineyards (many are 70-100 years old) struggling through sand and rock alongside neighbors like Rayas and Beaucastel. Their winemaking philosophy is to meld the natural advantage of old-vine plant material with clean, modern winemaking. When every single offering they presented left us grasping for superlatives, it’s clear they took every bit of the lauded 2010 vintage and focused it into liquid treasures.
Still awaiting bottling during my June visit, the 2017 Chateauneuf du Pape features bold notes of black cherries, cassis and spice cake. Owner Barruol says the Christmas cake is typical of La Crau. Full-bodied and voluptuous, with a long, fine and silky finish, this great effort provides one intense ride from start to finish.
Including more Mourvèdre than normal (it was a good year for Mourvèdre), the 2018 Châteauneuf Du Pape La Reserve is nearly equal parts Grenache and Mourvèdre brought up all in demi-muid (there's a tiny amount in amphora). Beautiful notes of black raspberries, kirsch, crushed rocks, garrigue, and cured meat all flow to a full-bodied, powerful 2018 with building tannins, remarkable purity of fruit, and a blockbuster finish. It's going to rank with some of the top wines in the vintage.