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Domaine de Marcoux Chateauneuf de Pape Blanc 2017

Rhone White Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
  • JD95
  • RP92
750ML / 0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

The quality of this white really took off with the acquisition of a pneumatic press and cooling system in 2009--and the wine has never looked back. Traditionally, Marcoux's white is an unusual blend (in the sense that it was heavily Roussanne dominant) of 60% Roussanne and 40% Bourboulenc hailing from two parcels. The Roussanne's 0.5-hectares of vines in Les Esqueirons where the cool limestone-based soils are perfect for white grapes (bringing freshness, texture and finesse) and the Bourboulenc, a 0.35-hectare plot in Les Bosquets (this variety bringing more citric freshness and drive). From 2015, due to demand for this cuvée, Sophie Armenier has been vinifying and blending in Marcoux's white varieties that grow on their 'red' vineyards--Grenache Blanc and Clairette. Pre-2015 these grapes were co-fermented with the estate Châteauneuf-du-Pape rouge. Hence, the new blend looks something like this: Roussanne (55%; bringing the power), Bourboulenc (35%; freshness) and Grenache Blanc/Clairette (10%; flesh and finesse). The grapes are whole-berry pressed, naturally fermented and raised entirely in steel vat on fine lees. There is no bâtonnage and the malo is blocked to further underline the wine's structure and freshness. It's the kind of racy, juicy white that we wished the appellation made more of (and that we had more of!).

Critical Acclaim

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JD 95
Jeb Dunnuck
One of the finest whites I’ve tasted from this estate is the 2017 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, which is two-thirds Roussanne and one-third Bourboulenc that has malo blocked and is raised in neutral demi-muids and tank. Full-bodied, rich, beautifully textured, and perfectly balanced, it has everything in the right places and just glides over the palate. Giving up plenty of white fruits, brioche, honeysuckle, and some buttered citrus notes, it’s a brilliant effort and well worth seeking out.
RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Hints of honeyed toast mark the nose of the 2017 Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc. A fifth of the wine fermented and aged in demi-muid, while the rest was in stainless steel. Full-bodied, round, soft and rich with peach and pineapple fruit, it comes together on the finish into lime-like precision.
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Domaine de Marcoux

Domaine de Marcoux

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Domaine de Marcoux, France - Other regions
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Official French records indicate that the Armenier family has been tending vines in Chateauneuf-du-Pape since the 1300's. Today, winemaker-sisters Catherine Armenier and Sophie Estevenin continue to write history with the wines of Domaine de Marcoux.

In 1990, the Domaine became the first in the Chateauneuf-du-Pape to implement biodynamic farming practices. Their youngest vines are 40 to 60-years-old, and in short, the sisters do as little as possible to the harvested grapes. This domaine, as critic Stephen Tanzer put it, is "the essence of Chateauneuf-du-Pape."

In 2003, Robert Parker named Sophie and Catherine on his list of "Wine Personalities of Year," writing, "Over the last 12 years, the biodynamically farmed vineyard has risen to the top of Chateauneuf-du-Pape's quality hierarchy. The two red wines produced have been stunning, with the regular cuvée of Chateauneuf-du-Pape one of the finest in the appellation, and the limited production Cuvée Vieilles Vignes one of the world’s truly magnificent wines."

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Chateauneuf-du-Pape

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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, 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.

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Rhône White Blends

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Full-bodied and flavorful, white Rhône blends originate from France’s Rhône Valley. Today these blends are also becoming popular in other regions, proving most successful in Spain, Australia and California. Typically some combination of Grenache blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier form the basis of a white Rhône blend with varying degrees of flexibility depending on the exact appellation.

In the Glass

Each variety contibutes something unique and different. Round, textural Grenache blanc gives green apple and white stone fruit flavors; weighty Marsanne adds structure and honeysuckle aromas; russet-colored Roussanne lends intriguing herbal, tea-like notes while Viognier provides a creamy texture and elegant aromatics. The flavor of the final wine will depend on the chosen components of the blend and their respective proportions.

Perfect Pairings

White Rhône blends are quite versatile food pairing wines and can work with light to medium rich meals that might often be matched to red wines. Heavier fish dishes with bold seasoning like grilled swordfish with caper butter or baked, herb-crusted mahi mahi are natural allies for these flavorful wines. Other ideal dishes include roast pork in mustard sauce, poached lobster with beurre blanc, or a rich and savory vegetable quiche. `

Sommelier Secret

In the Northern Rhône, blends of Marsanne and Roussanne are common in the appellations of St.-Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage and St-Péray. Condrieu and Château-Grillet can produce single-varietal Viognier only. The Southern Rhône, on the other hand, has much more variety, with many more permitted grapes including the ones named above as well as Bourboulenc, Clairette, Picpoul and Ugni Blanc.

SOU911043_2017 Item# 510562