Clos du Mont Olivet Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2009
Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
We selected a total of 13 older barrels for this, our "Cuvee Unique"—this is a wine that bowls you over with its abundant aromatics, its complexity and freshness on the palate and its staying power. A pure, rich ruby in the glass, the wine's aromas suggest incense and warm sandalwood, with notes of espresso and a hint of grilled apricot. Textured and silky, flavors deliver savory black fruits, pepper and soy sauce. A blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 6% Mourvèdre and 4% Cinsault aged in Mont-Olivet's traditional casks and foudre.
Wine Spectator - "This red has a good sappy intensity, delivering flavors of kirsch and blackberry preserves that course along, followed by notes of graphite and iron that take over on the finish. Approachable now, but has the cut to cellar short term. Drink now through 2019. 4,000 cases made."
International Wine Cellar - "Deep red. Complex, spice-accented bouquet of cherry, dark berry and dried flowers, with a hint of anise emerging with air. Deeply pitched blackberry and bitter cherry flavors are lifted by tangy acidity and show a suave floral nuance. Finishes juicy and long, with very good clarity and lingering spiciness. "
The Wine Advocate - "The 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape kicks up the intensity ever so slightly. It has a darker ruby hue and an elegant nose of black raspberries, sandy, loamy soil notes, roasted Provencal herbs, and hints of pepper and spice in a medium to full-bodied finish. A blend of 80% Grenache and the rest Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Counoise, and Vaccarese aged totally in old wood foudres, it should drink nicely for 8-10 years.
88-90 points. "
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Clos du Mont Olivet Winery
Heady, concentrated, sweet and long, the Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the Sabon family is remarkably intricate and refined.
While the family are strict traditionalists, they still allow us to make our North Berkeley Barrel Selection from wine raised in used Burgundy barrels we provide. Jean-Claude Sabon performs most of the vineyard work himself, while his son Thierry (who has a Ph.D in physics) manages winemaking duties.
Clos du Mont Olivet Châteauneuf-du-Pape bursts forth from the glass with aromatics of crushed vanilla beans, Mexican chocolate, coffee, and a sandalwood warmth that we’ve come to recognize as the Mont Olivet signature. From 80-year-old vines, our barrel selection wine is usually 65% Grenache, with the remainder Syrah and Mourvèdre.
"La Cuvee du Papet," named for Joseph Sabon, Sr., (papet means “Grandpa”) is a selection of the finest lots in the cellar, and is acknowledged by many to be one of the most age-worthy, fascinating wines produced in the appellation.
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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.