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Le Vieux Donjon Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2010

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750ML / 14.5% ABV
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750ML / 14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

#16 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2012

The secret to the success of Le Vieux Donjon is really no secret at all. They have tremendously old vines (many in excess of 80 years of age) and they are experts at picking only once the grapes have achieved optimum ripeness. Partial de-stemming is practiced, as is a rather lengthy maceration. The juice is then fermented in cement tanks before spending 18-24 months maturing in neutral foudres. As is the case at Clos des Papes, only one cuvée is produced.

Blend: 75% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre, 5% Cinsault

Critical Acclaim

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RP 96
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape is a traditionally made cuvee aged totally in tank and foudre. Its inky/purple color is followed by a sweet bouquet of black olives, incense, blackberries, mulberries, black cherries and lavender. This perfumed, super-concentrated 2010 possesses good acidity, ripe tannin and a full-bodied, expansive mouthfeel. This mouth-coating, saturated, dense Chateauneuf du Pape has plenty of tannin to shed, so give it 3-4 years of cellaring, and drink it over the following two decades.
WS 96
Wine Spectator
This takes a decidedly old-school approach with its very distinctive bay leaf and juniper notes leading the way, along with roasted mesquite and alder wood. The core of steeped black currant, roasted plum and blackberry fruit waits in reserve while the long, ganache- and tar-filled finish has nice rugged grip, with a peppery echo. Should cellar wonderfully. Best from 2015 through 2030. 8,000 cases made.
D 94
Decanter
75% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre, 5% Cinsault; yields of just 26hl/ha. The fruit is developing a deliciously balsamic undergrowth aroma. Medium-bodied but aromatically and structurally assertive: bright acidity, highly textural, with an enjoyably unpolished style.
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Le Vieux Donjon

Le Vieux Donjon

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Le Vieux Donjon, France
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Le Vieux Donjon, as it exists today, was created in 1979 with the marriage of Lucien and Marie José Michel. Both Lucien and Marie José's parents owned vineyards in the region, and those holding were combined to form Le Vieux Donjon. The domaine covers fourteen hectares of vineyards (all farmed organically), thirteen planted to red grapes and one planted to white. The Michel's holdings are primarily in the North and Northwest of the AOC, but they also have small plots in the Southwest and East. Their most important parcel is Pialons, and the grapes from the 2008 come from that parcel as well as those in Cabrieres, Bois de Boursan, Les Marines and Le Mourre de Gaude. The soils are mainly limestone and clay, and are studded with the famed galets roulé, the round, rust-colored stones which were left behind after the retreat of the Alpine glaciers which once covered the region
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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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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.

Tasting Notes for Rhône Blends

A Rhône blend is a dry, red wine and 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 Food Pairings for Rhône Blends

Rhône Blends 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 Secrets for Rhône Blends

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.

SSR117724_2010 Item# 117724

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