Domaine de la Vieille Julienne Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2004
To respect the spirit of the "appellation" at Vielle Julienne, this wine is always produced using Chateauneuf du Papes original varietals: Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cournoise, Cinsault, and even extremely rare varietals like Muscardin and Vaccarese. Harvest is entirely done by hand, and fermentation is carried out exclusively with indigenous yeast. The wine is aged in foudre for 1 year. Until 2001, this cuvee was marked as "Vieilles Vignes."
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
A great core of fig, blackberry and black currant fruit, with racy acidity and fine-grained tannins that are the hallmark of 2004, this shows flashes of graphite, spice and mineral on the long, precise finish. Big step up from the 2003.
Similar in style to the 2008, yet with more richness, the 2004 Chateauneuf du Pape is ready to go, with up-front spice, ground herbs, dried licorice and sweet black cherry-styled fruits. Medium to full-bodied, layered, balanced and beautifully drinkable, it should be consumed over the coming 5-7 years.
Domaine de la Vieille Julienne’s wines are not released until Jean-Paul feels they are approaching their peak. This means that his wines age at the cellar and come into the market years after most other Chateauneuf du Papes have come and gone.
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.