Domaine Bois de Boursan Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee des Felix 2010
A special selection of grapes from the lowest-yielding, best-exposed vines is made to produce this elite cuvée which, in years that merit its existence, represents about 10% of the annual production of the domaine. Again, Grenache represents 65% of this cuvée but Mourvedre plays an increasingly important role (25%) while Syrah (5%) and an assortment of other grape varieties (5%) complete the blend. This wine is aged in smaller “barriques” of older origin (two to six years of age). The “Cuvée Félix” is a more tannic and reserved wine than the “Tradition” with additional nuance that appears as the wine ages.
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Even better and one knockout bottle of traditional Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the 2010 Domaine Bois de Boursan Cuvée des Félix is the largest scaled, most concentrated version of this cuvee I’ve tasted. Boasting complex, intense aromas of black cherries, new leather, garrigue, spice-box, pepper, and forest floor qualities on the nose, this full-bodied wine has a decadent, voluptuous texture, brilliant concentration, and a chewy, meaty finish. It is one of the stars of the vintage, will benefit from short term cellaring, and will have over two decades of prime drinking.
Absolutely magnificent is the opaque ruby/purple 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee de Felix. Notes of root beer/beet root interwoven with roasted Provencal herbs, black currants and even blacker fruits such as blackberries are prominent in this full-bodied, concentrated wine, which has fabulous fruit, sumptuous, a deep, multi-layered texture and a sensational finish of close to 40+ seconds. Acidity is present and there is precision and uplift to the big, bold flavors the 2010 Cuvee de Felix possesses. Drink it over the next 15+ years.
This has been a reliable producer for at least two decades, capably administered by the Versino family. The classic cuvee is traditional Chateauneuf du Pape and the Cuvee de Felix is still made within that framework but slightly riper and denser.
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, Chateauneuf-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 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 Cinsault, 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.
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.