Le Vieux Donjon Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2005
"The 2005 Chateauneuf du Pape has a more saturated dark ruby/purple color and an elegant nose of licorice, roasted meat, sweet blackberries and cherries, as well as cedar and spice. The wine is medium to full-bodied, has good acidity, and seems to convey a sense of both elegance and power with beautiful balance and purity. This wine will need 2-4 years of bottle age and should drink well for up to 15 or so years. One of the most traditionally run estates of Chateauneuf du Pape, and consistently producers of excellent wines, Lucien and Marie-Joseph Michel consistently make the best selections in the cellar, and only bottle one Chateauneuf du Pape, resisting the current fashion for producing cuvees of old vines."
-Robert Parker, Wine Advocate 90-93
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
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.