Clos Saint-Jean Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Combe des Fous 2019  Front Label
Clos Saint-Jean Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Combe des Fous 2019  Front LabelClos Saint-Jean Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Combe des Fous 2019  Front Bottle Shot

Clos Saint-Jean Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Combe des Fous 2019

  • JD100
  • RP96
  • WS96
750ML / 0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

Combe des Fous literally means, the hill of the fool. The hill, in this case, is located in the far southern reach of Le Crau which was left barren for many centuries because the layer of galets was so exceedingly deep that everyone assumed vines could never survive there. The fool in this situation is Edmund Tacussel, the great-great-grandfather of Vincent and Pascal Maruel who planted a Grenache vineyard on this site in 1905. That old-vine Grenache forms the heart of this cuvée with a small amount of Syrah, Cinsault and Vaccarèse.

Critical Acclaim

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JD 100
Jeb Dunnuck

Starting off a trio of truly magical wines, the 2019 Châteauneuf Du Pape La Combe Des Fous checks in as 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and the rest Vaccarèse and Cinsault raised in tank and demi-muids. Sensationally pure cassis and blackberry fruits as well as complex notes of lavender, Provençal garrigue, ground pepper, and flowers all define this full-bodied 2019, which displays the vintage’s ripe, perfumed style while bringing more finesse, elegant, and purity than just about every other wine out there. It’s the finest vintage of this cuvée I’ve tasted and has another 15-20 years of prime drinking ahead of it.

RP 96
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Plummy and chocolaty yet remarkably vibrant, the 2019 Chateauneuf du Pape La Combe des Fous comes across as richer and more powerful than the 2018. I'm not sure that's a good thing in this cuvée, as it's full-bodied, dense and a bit chunky at the moment—certainly enormously impressive, but without the elegance of the previous vintage. It will be interesting to see how it compares once it's in the bottle.

Barrel Sample: 94-96

WS 96
Wine Spectator
Really enticing, with succulent cherry and raspberry paste flavors taking the lead. Backed by anise, fruitcake and floral notes, this is dense but has inner brightness, as savory and iron details emerge through the finish. Lovely mouthfeel throughout. Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Vaccarèse. Best from 2023 through 2038.
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Clos Saint-Jean

Clos Saint-Jean

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Clos Saint-Jean, France
Clos Saint-Jean Winery Image
The prestigious Clos Saint Jean is run by the fourth generation of the Tacussel/Maurel family - Vincent and Pascal Maurel - under the tutelage of renowned oenologist Philippe Cambie. Clos Saint-Jean is considered by critics, sommeliers, and consumers alike to be among the top properties of the Southern Rhone. Robert Parker comments, “The tasting of the five (2007) cuvees must rank among the greatest single tasting in the southern Rhone I have ever done in 30+ years of wine tasting. Last year I sensed something special was happening, and the bottled (2007) wines confirm that something rare had occurred in the vineyards and cellars of Clos Saint-Jean.” The estate now boasts four 100 point wines, sourced from their extraordinary old vine plots, including choice parcels in the famed La Crau district of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. The raw material for this wine is what is deemed at many domaines suitable for their top end cuvees, yet at Clos Saint-Jean this is their classic bottling. This cuvee “Vieilles Vignes” is produced from the oldest vines of the
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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.

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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.

STC618552_2019 Item# 764965

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