Chateau Mont Thabor Chateauneuf du Pape 2016
A floral and elegant vintage, this deep wine is ready to be enjoyed now.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Despite its hefty, muscular mouthfeel, vibrant blackberry and black-cherry flavors lend a zip to this full-bodied wine. Hints of graphite and smoke as well as firm, grippy tannins add backbone and nuance. It’s a brawny wine with juicy, fruity appeal but will likely meld from 2022 and hold through 2028.
The name Mont Thabor was given to the Chateau by a mystic monk, Don Pernety, who was a founder of a Catholic cult and a seeker after the magical "philosopher's stone'. He had brought from Israel's holy Mont Thabor a seedling tree. Once planted, he chose to name the Chateau Mont Thabor. After the agitations of the French Revolution, it all passed from the Church into private hands. In 1840 a certain Mr. Poulain acquired the property and transformed it into a "Relais de Poste'" where the stagecoaches carrying mail and the carriages bearing private citizens could stop for the night to rest. The eccentric and romantic Mr. Poulain was buried on the property and the heart of his mistress was placed in his casket. We presume that his passing was due to the grief caused by the death of his lover.
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.