Chapelle St. Theodoric La Guigasse Chateauneuf-Du-Pape 2016
Traditional whole-cluster vinification, indigenous yeast fermentation and aged in various ages of demi-muids. Harvested late, well into October.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
As I predicted last year, the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape La Guigasse has smoothed out considerably and seemingly absorbed the stemmy elements I noted previously. Still not yet bottled, it now offers wonderful fruit purity and intensity. Raspberries and cherries are delivered on a full-bodied, rich and creamy palate that somehow avoids any sense of heaviness. It looks to be a stunning example of 70-year-old Grenache from the sandy lieu-dit of the same name.
Barrel Sample: 95-97
Made from 100% Grenache in the La Guigasse lieu-dit, the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Guigasse boasts a deeper ruby/purple color as well as a sensational bouquet of kirsch and black raspberries, spring flowers, rose petals, and exotic spice. This beauty builds on the palate, with terrific concentration, yet it always holds onto the more ethereal, elegant, seamless style of this estate.
Barrel Sample: 94-96
Famous for its full-bodied, seductive and spicy reds with flavor and aroma characteristics reminiscent of black cherry, baked raspberry, garrigue, olive tapenade, lavender and baking spice, Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the leading sub-appellation of the southern Rhône 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 Châteauneuf-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 Cinsault, Counoise and occasionally Muscardin, Vaccarèse, Picquepoul Noir and Terret Noir.
Only about 6-7% of wine from Châteauneuf-du-Pape is white wine. 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.
With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre form the base of the classic Rhône Red Blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. Though they originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley, with some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in other countries. Somm Secret—Putting their own local spin on the Rhône Red Blend, those from Priorat often include Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.