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Clos Saint-Jean Deus Ex Machina Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2012

Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
  • RP98
  • WS96
0% ABV
  • RP98
  • WS95
  • RP98
  • WS93
  • RP100
  • WS96
  • RP99
  • WS94
  • RP96
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Winemaker Notes

"God from the machine" which is the literal translation of the Latin expression "Deus Ex Machina". In other words, divine intervention which radically modified the course of things. In the universe of theatre, "Deus Ex Machina" translates into an unexpected turn of events thanks to an external event that nothing foreshadowed. At Clos Saint-Jean, the name of this cuvee symbolizes the unexpected changing of course that has been enacted at Clos Saint-Jean since 2003.

Blend: 60% Grenache, 40% Mourvedre.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 98
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape Deus Ex Machina is a blend of 60% Grenache aged in foudre (from close to 100-year-old vines) and 40% Mourvedre aged in demi-muids. Its deep ruby/purple color is followed by incredible notes of cassis, roasted meats, licorice, toasted spice and a liquid rock-like minerality. Full-bodied, massive and concentrated, yet also seamless, elegant and incredibly polished, it flows onto the palate with building tannin, no hard edges and perfect balance. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this merit a perfect rating in the future, and it should hit prime-time drinking around age 10, and have 20-25 years of overall longevity. It’s one of the few wines to hit this level of quality in the vintage.
WS 96
Wine Spectator
Big but deftly balanced, with tiers of fig, blackberry, black currant and plum fruit supported by baker's chocolate, maduro tobacco, pepper, bay leaf and roasted alder notes. The intense finish lingers. Best from 2017 through 2034. 56 cases imported.
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Clos Saint-Jean

Clos Saint-Jean

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Clos Saint-Jean, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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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

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.

PYWDEUSEX_2012 Item# 134959