Domaine de Marcoux Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2019
The Vieilles Vignes, a cuvée made entirely from old-vine Grenache, made in vintages where the Grenache is abundant, rich and complex. It is sourced from the sandy soils of Charbonnières (planted 1900) the limestone marl of Esquierons (planted 1900/1949) and the gravelly red clay of Gallimardes (planted 1934/1959). It is aged entirely in 350L barrels for 18 months.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Even better, the 2019 Châteauneuf Du Pape Vieilles Vignes boasts a deeper ruby/purple color as well as a heavenly nose of Provençal garrigue, ground pepper, flowery incense, and both red and black fruits. Delivering incredible elegance as well as full-bodied power, it offers silky tannins, a stacked mid-palate, and a great, great finish. Two to three years of bottle age are going to be warranted, and it’s going to have two decades of overall longevity. This is a brilliant Châteauneuf Du Pape in the making!
Barrel Sample: 96-99
Touch of licorice behind the damson and plum fruit. This has searing intensity, very high acidity with fine tannins and a good internal framework. The alcohol is high, but the other elements are even more prominent. Very long. 3,900 bottles made. 120-year-old vines planted on north-facing clay and sand lieux-dits of Charbonnières and Esquières. Fermented in concrete, aged in foudre.
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."
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.