Clos Saint-Jean La Combe des Fous Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2010
Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
The Wine Advocate - "The limited production cuvee of 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape La Combe des Fous (60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and the rest Muscardin, Vaccarese and Cinsault) is awesome. There have been many great vintages of this wine (2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011), but the 2010 flirts with perfection. One of the most complex aromatic expressions of Chateauneuf du Pape, it offers up notes of Christmas fruitcake, spring flowers, mulberries, blueberries, black raspberries, espresso beans and spice box. Full-bodied, opulent and voluptuously textured, its luxurious, lavish fruit conceals amazing levels of glycerin and alcohol. This wine possesses prodigious intensity, massive layers of fruit and an incredible 45-50-second finish. Forget it for 4-5 years, and drink it over the following 20-25 years."
Wine Spectator - "This is very densely packed, with toasted fig bread, charcoal, roasted espresso bean, steeped black currant and blackberry fruit, followed by a flash of pastis on the finish. Very dark and rich, but has grip and length for balance, revealing a terrific, but deeply imbedded, graphite spine in reserve."
International Wine Cellar - "Inky ruby. Heady, spice-accented aromas of dark berry preserves, potpourri and smoky minerals. Stains the palate with intense black raspberry and lavender pastille flavors and becomes spicier with air. Powerful yet lithe and seamless, with superb finishing clarity and lingering floral notes. Tannins make a late appearance but are quickly absorbed by this wine's luscious fruit."
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Clos Saint-Jean Winery
The prestigious Clos Saint Jean is run by the fourth generation of the Tacussel/Maurel family - Vincent and Pascal Maurel - under the tutelage of renowned oenologist Philippe Cambie. Clos Saint-Jean is considered by critics, sommeliers, and consumers alike to be among the top properties of the Southern Rhone. Robert Parker comments, “The tasting of the five (2007) cuvees must rank among the greatest single tasting in the southern Rhone I have ever done in 30+ years of wine tasting. Last year I sensed something special was happening, and the bottled (2007) wines confirm that something rare had occurred in the vineyards and cellars of Clos Saint-Jean.” The estate now boasts four 100 point wines, sourced from their extraordinary old vine plots, including choice parcels in the famed La Crau district of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. The raw material for this wine is what is deemed at many domaines suitable for their top end cuvees, yet at Clos Saint-Jean this is their classic bottling. This cuvee “Vieilles Vignes” is produced from the oldest vines of the View all Clos Saint-Jean 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 & 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.