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Domaine du Pegau Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Reservee 2008
Domaine du Pegau was created in 1987, when Laurence Féraud, after her wine studies, joined her father Paul Féraud at the estate. Pégau is an old Provençal word for a wine jug found in the excavations of the 14th century Popes Palace in Avignon. Paul always talks about Laurence as "le chef," but he is an experienced winemaker himself. The property has belonged to the family for several generations. Together, father and daughter have made Pegau into one of the best wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. They have 18.5 ha. planted with red varieties and 1 ha. with white grapes. Their 11 parcels are spread around the appellation and each gives a different wine which, after the blending, results in a very distinct wine… a true, classic Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Only organic methods are used in the vineyards.
80% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 4% Mourvèdre, 1% other varieties. 100% hand picked. Whole cluster. Grapes are sorted, pressed and fermented for 10 to 15 days. Pump overs twice daily (am & pm) for aeration. Aged 18 months in old (up to 70 years!) oak foudres. Bottled in Nov 2010 without filtration.
A dark, lightly chewy style, with roasted mesquite and dark licorice notes leading the way for a powerful core of black Mission fig, blackberry preserve, Turkish coffee and bittersweet cocoa notes. There’s a flash of truffle on the finish. Drink now through 2022.
The 2008 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Reservee was about to be bottled at the time of my visit, and it will certainly be one of the better wines of the vintage. By the standards of Pegau, it is not a massive wine nor will it be terribly long-lived. However, this estate has an incredible track record in off years, so I would not be surprised to see this wine exceeding readers’ expectations in 10-12 years. Tasting through the three remaining lots that will be blended together, I rated them between 89 and 92. That makes it one of the better wines of the vintage. Medium to full-bodied, chewy and very evolved, the wine exhibits lots of earth, lavender and foresty/mossy notes intermixed with kirsch, peppery black currants and Christmas fruitcake spices. It should drink nicely for 10-12+ years. Laurence calls it a very “traditional” style that she believes will be as good as their 2006. Range 89-91
In 1987 Domaine du Pegau was formed as we know it today, when Laurence Feraud returned from her winemaking studies and she teamed up with her father Paul to create the winery. Complementing each other they have conserved the authenticity and quality of their Chateauneuf-du-Pape whilst bringing it to the attention of wine lovers around the world.
A shy but noble variety with considerable structure, depth, and length, beneath Sémillon’s aloof exterior lays a singular, uncompromising white with the power and intensity to create wines that can last and improve for several decades. It is the perfect partner to tame Sauvignon Blanc's wild side in its most important outpost of Bordeaux. Sémillon especially shines in Sauternes, one of the world’s greatest sweet wines, with highly concentrated flavors of honey and dried apricots. While Sémillon is not the most fashionable grape in the rest of the wine world, it has had great success in Australia, where it can produce elegant, complex dry wines.
In the Glass
Sémillon is most notable for its oily texture and significant palate weight. In youthful dry wines, it expresses subtle aromas of lemon, green apple, pear, and stone fruit. Aged or sweet Sémillon wines show more complex character of lanolin, beeswax, honeysuckle, ginger, saffron, vanilla, or toast.
Thanks to its moderate acidity, this fairly full-bodied wine can stand up to pretty boldly flavored food. Think lightly spiced Asian or Indian white meat or fish dishes, or anything with cinnamon, clove, or star anise. It’s also great with autumnal vegetables like kabocha squash, yam, or potato. Botrytised Sémillon, as in Sauternes, is a perfectly decadent pairing with foie gras.
Sémillon was once the most common variety in South Africa—so common, in fact, that in 1822, when 93% of the country’s vineyard area was planted with it, it was simply referred to as Wyndruif, or “wine grape.”