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Le Vieux Donjon Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2013

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750ML / 0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

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.

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 94
Wine & Spirits
Claire Fabre, like her father Lucien Michel before her, makes only one red, focused on grenache with some syrah, mourvèdre and cinsault in the blend, pulled from the family’s 35 acres of vines. Most of those vines are very old, and this wine seems to channel the intensity of their fruit in its vividness. It’s not a big wine, but it feels expansive, hitting every hallmark scent and flavor of the south of France, from ripe figs to wild fennel, olives and even merguez. There’s no wood to speak of—it’s fermented in cement and aged in neutral foudres. Instead, it feels powerful in its nakedness, a bare and beautiful portrait of place.
RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Showing even better from bottle than barrel, the outstanding 2013 Châteauneuf du Pape is a slightly shifted blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 20% Mourvèdre that saw the normal traditional vinification (50% destemmed) and aging in foudre. It reveals a healthy ruby/purple color to go with lots of pepper, Provençal herbs and currants. Medium-bodied, with more density than the 2014, it shows the slightly austere edge to the vintage, yet has a beautiful texture, ripe tannin and an excellent finish. It will have 10-15 years or overall longevity.
WS 90
Wine Spectator
Very silky in feel, with lovely raspberry, bitter plum and cherry coulis flavors gliding along, laced with subtle savory, lavender and tobacco notes. Shows a lightly dusty edge to the finish, which has nice length and good underlying acidity. A little shy on stuffing, but delivers lovely range and feel. Drink now through 2024. 4,000 cases made.
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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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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.

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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.

FBR115351_2013 Item# 144940