While the family are strict traditionalists, they still allow us to make our North Berkeley Barrel Selection from wine raised in used Burgundy barrels we provide. Jean-Claude Sabon performs most of the vineyard work himself, while his son Thierry (who has a Ph.D in physics) manages winemaking duties.
Clos du Mont Olivet Châteauneuf-du-Pape bursts forth from the glass with aromatics of crushed vanilla beans, Mexican chocolate, coffee, and a sandalwood warmth that we’ve come to recognize as the Mont Olivet signature. From 80-year-old vines, our barrel selection wine is usually 65% Grenache, with the remainder Syrah and Mourvèdre.
"La Cuvee du Papet," named for Joseph Sabon, Sr., (papet means “Grandpa”) is a selection of the finest lots in the cellar, and is acknowledged by many to be one of the most age-worthy, fascinating wines produced in the appellation.
North Berkeley Imports View all Clos du Mont Olivet Wines
About Chateauneuf-du-PapeView a map of Chateauneuf-du-Pape wineries (shah-too-NUHF due Pahp)
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.