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Domaine de Monpertuis Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Tradition 2006

Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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    Winemaker Notes

    The "Cuvee Tradition," also known on occasion as the "Secret de Gabriel" (in honor of Paul Jeune's father) is produced solely from old vines of minimum age of 60 years and is sourced from at least 85% Grenache (the percentage frequently exceeds 90%). The "Cuvee Tradition" undergoes a long fermentation that can extend to 40 days. This cuvee is aged in a mixture of small and large oak barrels and is bottled, without filtration, approximately two years after harvest. The "Cuvee Tradition" ("Secret de Gabriel") is produced in limited quantity and only in vintages considered to be outstanding.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Domaine de Monpertuis

    Domaine de Monpertuis

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    Domaine de Monpertuis, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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    The Domaine de Monpertuis has been in the hands of the Jeune family for several generations. Each successor has added bits and pieces of vineyards to the expanding whole of the estate so that the current owner, Paul Jeune, is now the proprietor of the 10 acres of vines that are scattered amongst 32 separate parcels throughout the confines of Chateauneuf du Pape. In addition, Jeune now vinifies separate cuvees of Cotes du Rhone and Vin de Pays du Gard as well as his white and reds from the Chateauneuf appellation.

    Jeune has the remarkable good fortune of having a majority of his vineyards planted to vines between 60 and 110 years of age. The remaining vineyards generally are between 20 and 60 years, except for some new plantings of white varietals like Roussane. The multiplicity of parcels spread across Chateauneuf imparts a classic character to the wines of Monpertuis, absorbing the nuances of each soil type of the appellation.

    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.

    Rhône Blends

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    With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, red Rhône blends originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley. Grenache, supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre typically form the base of the blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. With some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in Priorat, Washington, Australia and California.

    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 is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit and a plush texture. Syrah supplies dark fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy and earthy notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume and earthy flavor as well as structure and a healthy dose of color. New World examples tend to be fruit-forward in style, while those from the Old World will often have more earth, structure and herbal components on top of ripe red and blue fruit.

    Perfect Pairings

    Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. These can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes, playing equally well with beef, pork, lamb or game. Braised beef cheeks, grilled steak or sausages, roasted pork and squab are all fine pairings.

    Sommelier Secret

    Some regions like to put their own local spin on the red Rhône 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 make an appearance.

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