Domaine La Milliere Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes 2009
Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
A dynamic, savory and stunningly pure wine that captures all the saturated richness of the 2009 vintage without the excess; it may be better than the estate's stunning 2007 and will certainly reward a hundredfold in a cool cellar. Precise, peppery aromas and the complexity of Moroccan spices show on the expressive nose; the mouth delivers cherries, licorice and colorful peppercorns yet retains a purity and balance that seems almost magical considering its flavorful concentration. The estate's stony terroir (the classic Châteauneuf "galets roules") are present in the nose and finish, a mineral edge that keeps every sip lively and well-defined. A heady blend of 70% Grenache, 8% Mourvèdre, 8% Syrah, 8% Cinsault and 6% Counoise, aged completely in the family's older foudre.
Wine Spectator - "This is alluring, with warm ganache and black tea notes leading the way for velvety-textured fig sauce, plum and crushed blackberry fruit. The long finish is filled with licorice and anise. Drink now through 2023. 3,000 cases made."
The Wine Advocate - "The 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes (from 80-100 year old vines) exhibits a dark ruby/plum color as well as a big, voluptuous mouthfeel revealing copious pepper, garrigue, black cherry, lavender and damp earth notes. It is a full-bodied, luscious, sexy example of Chateauneuf du Pape to enjoy over the next decade. "
International Wine Cellar - "Deep ruby. Powerful aromas of black raspberry, licorice, garrigue and smoked meat. Dense and ripe, with good depth adding to the dark berry and licorice pastille flavors. Broad, chewy and ripe in style, reminding me a bit of a wine from 2007, showing good finishing cling and length.
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Domaine La Milliere Winery
All of Arnaud's Châteauneuf vines are located in Cabrières, just below Mont Redon. This region is blessed with the best soils of Châteauneuf—round galet stones the size of fists, well-draining sand, and mineral-rich limestone. Vines that have seen close to a century of life in Châteauneuf sit north/west on Arnaud’s vineyard slopes.
Ancient too are the vines Arnaud sources for his "smaller" crus. Some of Arnaud's oldest Grenache vines grow in his vineyards just below Mont Redon. These 100+ year old vines produce incredibly dense fruit that make up his finest Côtes du Rhône and Côtes du Rhône-Villages wines.
Millière’s Merlot vineyards sit right next to his Côtes du Rhône plots. These younger vines grow on sandy, clay-based soils. This region, just north of Cabrières near Orange, is very good for vin de pays. The mistral sweeps through, keeping humidity low, while sandy soils provide good drainage. A "joli terroir de Merlot," says Millière.
Arnaud’s life philosophy is organic—in the fields and in his kitchen, too. View all Domaine La Milliere Wines
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.
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