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Flat front label of wine

Andre Brunel Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Cailloux Centenaire (3L) 2007

Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
  • WS96
  • RP96
0% ABV
  • WS96
  • RP96
  • RP96
  • V94
  • RP97
  • WS96
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Winemaker Notes

The Cuvee Centenaire bottling is among the rarest and most sought after wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It is produced from ancient vines planted in 1889. The Centenaire vineyard is planted to roughly 80% Grenache, 12% Mourvedre and 8% Syrah. The Grenache, which is often picked at 16 degrees potential alcohol, is vinified and aged in tank, while the Mourvedre and Syrah are finished in small barrels for up to 24 months. Brunel only makes the Cuvée Centenaire in the finest vintages, otherwise the old-vine fruit is used in the "regular" Les Cailloux bottling.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 96
Wine Spectator
Rich, but amazingly silky and elegant, this is layered with blackberry, raspberry and fig fruit and stitched with incense, black tea and warm plum sauce notes, all of it staying remarkably lithe and suave. The superlong finish shows weight and precision as only Grenache can. Tempting now, but should put on weight in the cellar. Drink now through 2030.
RP 96
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Two brilliant successes are Brunel’s cuvees of 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape. His limited cuvee of approximately 500 cases of the 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Centenaire (made from 80% Grenache aged in foudre, and the balance Syrah and Mourvedre aged in one- to three-year-old small barrels) comes primarily from a parcel of 120-year-old vines in the northern part of the appellation in the lieu-dit known as Farguerol. This cuvee has only been made in vintages such as 1989, 1990, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, and now 2007. Deep ruby/purple in color, the wine exhibits very up-front, precocious, sexy plum, black currant, and sweet cherry notes intermixed with some floral hints, licorice, and garrigue. It is dense, full-bodied, much more supple and silky-textured than the 2005 or 2001, but seemingly more concentrated than the 2000 version of this wine. It is a brilliant, full-throttle, seamless Chateauneuf du Pape capable of lasting for up to two decades, although few people will be able to resist its exuberant youthfulness.
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Andre Brunel

Andre Brunel

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Andre Brunel, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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The Brunel family has been in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape region since the 17th century and has been fully committed to making wine for five generations. The first vineyard beginning was purchased from the Bishop of Avignon located in the north of the appellation. In 1971, André Brunel took over the reins of the Domaine. We want to produce wines reflecting their region and origin while remaining elegant and wonderfully subtle. The Domaine boasts about 40 hectares in Côtes du Rhône, mostly located to the east of the city of Orange and the rest being in the Gard near Lirac. His endless motivation resulted in rapid growth for the Domaine: repurchasing of Côtes du Rhône and Vins de Pays vines. He also made some considerable changes in the vine management process by being one of the first people to use a ground covering method and take a non-chemical approach to wine-farming. In 2012, his son, Fabrice Brunel, joined the team so the family history can continue.

Chateauneuf-du-Pape

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Famous for its full-bodied, seductive and spicy reds with flavor and aroma characteristics of silky black cherry, baked raspberry, garrigue, olive tapenade, lavender and baking spice, Chateauneuf-du-Pape is the leading sub-appellation of the southern Rhone River Valley. Large pebbles resembling river rocks, called galets in French, dominate most of the terrain. The stones hold heat and reflect it back up to the low-lying gobelet-trained vines. Though the galets are typical, they are not prominent in every vineyard. Chateau Rayas is the most obvious deviation with very sandy soil.

According to law, eighteen grape varieties are allowed in Chateauneuf-du-Pape and most wines are blends of some mix of these. For reds, Grenache is the star player with Mourvedre and Syrah coming typically second. Others used include Cinsaut, Counoise and occasionally Muscardin, Vaccarèse, Picquepoul Noir and Terret Noir.

Only about 6-7% of wine from Chateauneuf-du-Pape is white. Blends and single-varietal bottlings are typically based on the soft and floral Grenache Blanc but Clairette, Bourboulenc and Roussanne are grown with some significance.

The wine of Chateauneuf-du-Pape takes its name from the relocation of the papal court to Avignon. The lore says that after moving in 1309, Pope Clément V (after whom Chateau Pape-Clément in Pessac-Léognan is named) ordered that vines were planted. But it was actually his successor, John XXII, who established the vineyards. The name however, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, translated as "the pope's new castle," didn’t really stick until the 19th century.

Rhône Blends

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With bold fruit flavors and accents of spice, Rhône red blends originated in France’s Southern Rhône valley and have become popular in Priorat, Washington, South Australia, and California’s Central Coast. In the Rhône itself, 19 grape varieties are permitted for use, but many of these blends, are based on Grenache and supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre, earning the nickname “GSM blends.” Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape are perhaps the best-known outposts for these wines. Other varieties that may be found in Rhône blends include Carignan, Cinsault, and Counoise.

In the Glass

The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache, which often forms the base of these blends, is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit, a plush texture, and often high levels of alcohol. Syrah supplies darker fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy, and meaty notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume as well as body, tannin, and a healthy dose of color. New World examples will lie further along the fruit-forward end of the spectrum, while those from the Old World taste and smell much earthier, often with a “barnyard” character that is attractive to many fans of these wines.

Perfect Pairings

Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. Depending on the weight and alcohol level, these can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes—they play equally well with beef, pork, duck, lamb, or game. With their high acidity, these wines are best-matched with salty or fatty foods, and can handle the acidity of tomato sauce in pizza or pasta. Braised beef cheeks, grilled lamb sausages, or roasted squab are all fine pairings.

Sommelier Secret

Some regions like to put their own local spin on the Rhône red blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin, and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or even Tempranillo make an appearance.

NVSCENTENAIRE_2007 Item# 125543