Range: 91-93 Points"
Tardieu-Laurent Chateaneuf du Pape Vielles Vignes 2011
Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
The fruit is ripe, the palate is rich, fleshy and powerful, with good density. Mourvedre was hugely successful, harmonizing the blend to produce a beautifully balanced Chateauneuf du Pape.
Blend: 80% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah
The Wine Advocate - "A blend of 75% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre and 5% Syrah from the oldest vines is the 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes. It exhibits a deeper color than its two siblings along with copious notes of new saddle leather, roasted herbs, black pepper, lavender, raspberry and black cherry fruit. This medium to full-bodied 2011 should drink nicely for a decade.
International Wine Cellar - "Deep ruby. Candied dark berries, pipe tobacco, cola and licorice on the deeply perfumed nose. The palate offers lush, weighty blueberry and blackcurrant flavors that expand with air and pick up a peppery, spicy nuance. The clinging finish is firmed by youthful, chewy tannins."
Wine Spectator - "Offers a singed anise frame, with hints of wood spice and licorice root carrying the core of fleshy plum, blackberry and black currant fruit. A ganache note hangs on the finish. Best from 2014 through 2022."
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Domaine Tardieu-Laurent was established in 1994. It is a partnership between Dominique Laurent, a former pattisier (and with the girth to go with it) and one of the hottest names in Burgundy, and Michel Tardieu, a dynamic young winemaker. Tardieu-Laurent is an extremely unusual operation in that they are a négociant only, buying young wines from growers all over the Rhône, which they mature and blend before bottling. They own no vineyards and don't buy grapes, only wine.
Tardieu-Laurent is very much an "artisan" producer, making between half a dozen and 20 or so barrels of each wine. The majority of the wines are from the southern Rhône although superb cuvees of Cote Rôtie and Hermitage are also produced. The wines are all aged in small oak casks (often 100% new) and bottled with no fining nor filtration. Michel Tardieu proclaims himself as a confirmed terroirist, insisting that his aim with each appellation is to express powerfully the fruit and sense of place, never masking these factors with wood. View all Tardieu-Laurent 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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