Cuvee du Vatican Chateauneuf-du-Pape Reserve Sixtine 2005
Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
- red wine
- collectible wine
"One can imagine that the 2005 Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve Sixtine is even more backward than the regular bottling. Saturated black/purple in color with a classic nose of a walk in a pine forest intermixed with roasted herbs, black cherry liqueur, cassis, and something I often pick up in this wine, an almost earthy, peppery meatiness that, for lack of a better description, reminds me of a high-class steak au poivre dish at a French bistro. This is full-bodied and deep – a wine built/made for connoisseurs who have the patience as well as the cold cellars to store it. Give it 3-5 years of bottle age and drink it over the following two decades. This is one more estate that has come back strong because of a change in generations with the young, competent Jean-Marc Diffonty replacing his father, one of the grumpy but personality-filled characters of Chateauneuf du Pape. Yet from a winemaking standpoint, the father was inflexible and unwilling to change. Diffonty has lower yields and introduced a new blend, the Reserve Sixtine which is a blend of 50% Grenache and the rest Syrah and Mourvedre, the latter two components spending time in small oak barrels."
-Wine Advocate 92-94
"Dark red. Intense oak spice notes and dusty herbs accent bright red berry aromas. Sweet and silky, with powerful raspberry and kirsch flavors, supple tannins and excellent thrust on the finish. This is wonderfully bright and energetic, with the balance to repay cellaring."
-International Wine Cellar 92-95
Cuvee du Vatican Winery
Jean-Marc Diffonty is the 4th generation at the domain and has been responsible, since his father Félician Diffonty left the charge in 1993. Félician Diffonty was the mayor of Chateauneuf du Pape 1965-1995 and it was him who in 1958 named the domaine Cuvée du Vatican - with blessings by the pope! In 1996 Jean Marc was made president of the Young Winemakers of Châteauneuf du Pape.
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(shah-too-NUHF due Pahp)
Photo of galets covering the soil at Chateau de BeaucastelSouthern 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.
Notable Facts There 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 regions
When 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.
Alcohol By Volume Guide
Most 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 & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.