Clos Saint-Jean Vieilles Vignes Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2009
Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
The classic bottling at the prestigious Clos Saint Jean is their "Vieilles Vignes" Chateauneuf du Pape. This cuvee "Vieilles Vignes", from 75% Grenache, 15% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre, Cinsault, Vaccareze and Muscardin is produced from the oldest vines of the estate and is made only for the US market.
The Wine Advocate - "The 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes reveals supple tannins, a velvety texture, good opulence and low acidity. The wine is full-bodied, less intense in the mid-palate than the 2010, and already complex and evolved. It can be drunk now or cellared for 12-15+ years. If a prize were given to the Rhone Valley estate that had improved the most in the shortest period of time, it would undoubtedly go to that of Pascal and Vincent Maurel, who took over Clos Saint-Jean after their father passed away in 2002. Since then, they have made a succession of world-class wines that are out of this world. One of the largest estates in Chateauneuf du Pape, Clos Saint-Jean has an amazing number of old vine parcels in its 112+ acres (significant holdings in La Crau, in the eastern part of the appellation). No doubt the hiring of renowned oenologist Philippe Cambie has also increased the quality of these offerings. The 2010 Clos Saint-Jean Chateauneuf du Papes are phenomenal wines. The Maurel brothers believe they are as profound as the 2007s, and it is hard to disagree. Production is down considerably because of the loss of 25-30% of the Grenache crop due to poor flowering, but the levels of concentration, freshness and focus of these wines are remarkable. Moreover, the 2009s from bottle performed at the upper end of the ranges I had given them last year – always a sign of a terrific winery dedicated to high quality. "
International Wine Cellar - "Bright ruby. Ripe blackberry and cherry on the nose, with dark chocolate and licorice adding complexity. Deep, spice-accented cherry liqueur and bitter chocolate flavors are enlivened by a note of singed orange. Becomes brighter with air and finishes with excellent clarity, thrust and bite."
Wine Spectator - "Features perfumy aromatics, but still a bit tight, with an iron-bound core of cassis, raspberry and blackberry fruit, backed by graphite and black tea notes on the racy finish. Should unwind with modest cellaring. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Vaccarèse. Best from 2012 through 2021. 1,011 cases made"
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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-Pape(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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