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Flat front label of wine

Chateau Sixtine Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2011

Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
  • RP91
  • WS91
0% ABV
  • WS92
  • RP90
  • RP94
  • RP96
  • WS94
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4.0 1 Ratings
0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

At first glance, the wine is a dark, deep, brilliant crimson color. The dense nose offers pure, intense dark berry and undergrowth aromas. On the palate, the mellow, well-integrated wood adds an unrivalled silkiness. The well-balanced tannin structure, the precision and just the right balance of fruit give this wine its full personality. Its delicate, subtle scents lead you to a delightfully long, fresh finish. The silkiness of the wine dominates throughout the tasting. A jewel of a wine.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
RP 91
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The top wine (formerly called the Reserve Sixtine), the 2011 Cuvee Sixtine Chateauneuf du Pape is the best of the 2011s and an interesting blend of 40% Grenache, 35% Mourvedre and 25% Syrah that was aged 60% in barrels. Beautifully concentrated, with toast, pepper, earth and blackberry-driven aromas and flavors, it flows onto the palate with a medium to full-bodied, concentrated and rich texture that is decidedly un-2011 like. Beautifully done and a rock-solid wine in the vintage, it should have a decade of longevity.
WS 91
Wine Spectator
Driven by a bright, juicy core of raspberry and blackberry coulis notes, this features accents of licorice snap and roasted apple wood. Good briary grip lines the finish, with a lingering sappy feel. Drink now through 2026. 3,500 cases made.
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Chateau Sixtine

Chateau Sixtine

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Chateau Sixtine, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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Château Sixtine is the newly adopted name for the estate wines of the Diffonty family. Currently under the dynamic direction of Jean-Marc Diffonty, the reputation of the family's wines continues to grow. One of the Southern Rhone's oldest wine families, the Diffontys have been winegrowers since 1673. From 1958 to 2010 their Châteauneuf du Pape wines gained a very high reputation under the Cuvèe du Vatican label; after 1998 their reserve wines were labeled Cuvèe du Vatican Reserve Sixtine. Beginning with the 2010 vintage, the Cuvee du Vatican name will be used for negotiant wines from the Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf du Pape; the estate Châteauneuf du Papes will be labeled Château Sixtine. There will also be a second wine from the estate, which will be labeled Manus Dei du Château Sixtine.

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.

FBR109786_2011 Item# 125503