Domaine de la Janasse Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes 2011
Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
A lavishly ripe, extracted Chateauneuf-du-Pape that is complex and yet balanced with acidity - often in contradiction to an appellation better known for sheer exuberance and power.
The Wine Advocate - "And a candidate for the wine of the vintage, the 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes is always a rough blend of 85% Grenache and the balance Syrah, Mourvedre, Clairette and other permitted varieties, that has the Grenache aged all in foudre and the Syrah and Mourvedre aged in one-third new barrels (that’s less than 6% of the blend in new barrels). Exhibiting gorgeous black fruits, spice-box, toast, licorice and roasted meat-like qualities on the nose, it is full-bodied, concentrated and layered on the palate, with loads of texture, yet delivers no weight, heat, or ever puts a foot wrong. Shockingly good in the vintage, it should not be missed. Hats off to Christophe and Isabelle. Drink now-2027. "
International Wine Cellar - "Bright purple. Dark fruit liqueur, star anise, cinnamon and licorice aromas are sharpened by a lively mineral quality and a touch of white pepper. Sappy, sweet and incisive, with a suave blend of power and vivacity to its blackcurrant and mulberry flavors. Juicy acidity gives focus to the finish, which features velvety tannins, a touch of smokiness and outstanding energy."
Wine Spectator - "Very solid for the vintage, with ripe, fleshy layers of plum compote, raspberry preserves and blackberry pâte de fruit. Lots of anise and graphite line the finish, with ample depth in reserve."
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Domaine de la Janasse Winery
Domaine de la Janasse has quickly become one of the Superstar estates of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Led by the dynamic Christophe Sabon, the estate combines the best of both traditional and modern techniques to craft a collection of truly riveting wines from “simple” value-priced VDP’s to benchmark Châteauneufs.
The estate was founded in 1976 by Aimé Sabon, Christophe’s father, who still oversees the vineyards and farms organically. The property consists of 40 Hectares, spread over as many as 70 different parcels throughout the appellation.
While Aime works in the vineyards, his son, Christophe Sabon, is in charge of wine production. Christophe is a self-proclaimed “great defender of Grenache,” which still represents 75% of their vines. He manages the common rusticity of Grenache-based wines through meticulous work in the vineyards and cellar. The result is a wide range of lavishly ripe, extracted Châteauneuf-du-Papes and Cotes-du-Rhônes that are complex and yet balanced with acidity -- often in contradiction to an appellation better known for sheer exuberance and power. As Robert Parker points out: “The young and talented Christophe Sabon continues to display the sure-handed touch of a veteran winemaker”. View all Domaine de la Janasse 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.