Clos Saint-Jean Sanctus Sanctorum (1.5 Liter magnum) 2010
Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
The Wine Advocate - "My favorite wine in the world may be Clos Saint-Jean’s 100% Grenache Chateauneuf du Pape Sanctus Sanctorum, which comes from old vines planted between 1902 and 1905 in the La Crau sector. The 2010 (820 magnums produced) hit 16.7% natural alcohol, but one would never know that from the wine’s intensity. This magical wine boasts an inky/ruby/purple color, astonishing richness and an extraordinary perfume of black raspberries, blackberries, licorice, lavender and loamy soil. So pure, unctuous and viscous, it is over-the-top in richness and intensity. Like all of the world’s greatest wines, it is an intellectual and hedonistic beauty that is capable of pure magic in its aromas and flavors. It should hit full maturity in about a decade, and last at least three decades thereafter."
Wine Spectator - "A lush, heady style, with raspberry coulis, blackberry paste and plum pâte de fruit notes layered with toasted wood spice and baker's chocolate notes. The finish picks up more and more grip with air in the glass. Will benefit from cellaring."
International Wine Cellar - "Bright ruby. A strikingly complex bouquet evokes candied red and dark berries, potpourri, sandalwood and Asian spices. Smells like an exotic Grand Cru Burgundy from a ripe vintage. Coats the palate with sweet black and blue fruit and floral pastille flavors that gain energy and spiciness with air. Gentle tannins give shape and grip to an endless, sweet, penetrating finish."
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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.