Chateau Sixtine Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2011
Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
At first glance, the wine is a dark, deep, brilliant crimson color. The dense nose offers pure, intense dark berry and undergrowth aromas. On the palate, the mellow, well-integrated wood adds an unrivalled silkiness. The well-balanced tannin structure, the precision and just the right balance of fruit give this wine its full personality. Its delicate, subtle scents lead you to a delightfully long, fresh finish. The silkiness of the wine dominates throughout the tasting. A jewel of a wine.
International Wine Cellar - "Bright purple. Intensely perfumed red and dark berry aromas are complicated by subtle smoke and floral qualities. Sweet raspberry and blackberry preserve flavors show impressive depth and pick up a licorice nuance with air. Closes on an attractively sweet note, with excellent clarity and lingering smokiness.
The Wine Advocate - "The top wine (formerly called the Reserve Sixtine), the 2011 Cuvee Sixtine Chateauneuf du Pape is the best of the 2011s and an interesting blend of 40% Grenache, 35% Mourvedre and 25% Syrah that was aged 60% in barrels. Beautifully concentrated, with toast, pepper, earth and blackberry-driven aromas and flavors, it flows onto the palate with a medium to full-bodied, concentrated and rich texture that is decidedly un-2011 like. Beautifully done and a rock-solid wine in the vintage, it should have a decade of longevity."
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About Chateauneuf-du-PapeView a map of Chateauneuf-du-Pape wineries (shah-too-NUHF due Pahp)Southern Rhone's landmark region, Chateauneuf du Pape, was the first region to gain AC status in France. That was the 1920s – it's history goes much further back than that. As the name suggests, the wine region was named after the "new papal home," referring to the period of time in the 1300's when the pope resided in Avignon instead of Rome.
Photo of galets covering the soil at Chateau de Beaucastel
Notable FactsThere are 13 allowed varieties in Chateauneuf du Pape (14 if you count Grenache Blanc separately from Grenache Noir). Grenache is the primary variety, followed by Syrah and Mourvedre as well as Cinsault. About 97% of the wines here are red, although many chateaux are producing whites ranging from quaffable to decadent and ageworthy. Reds from the best estates emit wonderful flavors of gamey spice, blackberries and currant, as well as the herbs and spices that are known to grow in the region.
Note on the soil: The grapes grow on soils covered in rounded, smooth stones called galets (gah-lay). The stones naturally cover most of the soils throughout Chateauneuf du Pape and are two fold in their duties. First, they are able to reflect and absorb the heat, to quicken the ripening of the grapes. They also help to hold in moisture so that the soils are not dried out by the hot Southern French sun.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.