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Les Clefs d'Or Les Craus Centenaires 2009

Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
  • WS92
14.5% ABV
  • WS92
  • RP92
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The monumental Châteauneuf du Pape Les Craus Centenaires is a blend of 80% Grenache from vines well over 100 years old and 20% Syrah. The yield is only 25 hectolitres per hectare. The wine is made from free-run juice only. It is given a three-week fermentation in tank followed by 18 months of aging in tank and foudre. Only 250 cases are made. This wine is one of the great treasures of Chateauneuf du Pape.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 92
Wine Spectator
Richly layered, with linzer torte and boysenberry confiture notes gliding together, backed by anise, violet and graphite on the long, fine-grained finish. Shows ample ripeness, but subtly persistent drive keeps this going. Should fill out even more in the cellar. Best from 2014 through 2024.
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Les Clefs d'Or

Les Clefs d'Or

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Les Clefs d'Or, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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In the late 19th century, Maurice Deydier, a cooper by trade, founded a small domaine in Châteauneuf du Pape. In the 1950s, his son Jean transformed the estate he had inherited from this father into the core of today’s Domaine Jean Deydier Les Clefs d’Or. Jean planted new vineyards and acquired others, bringing his holding to the size of 15 hectares. In 1957, Jean was awarded the medal of the Chevalier du Merite Agricole for “the loving, artisanal style of production that he brought to the development of his property, and the constant efforts he deployed to make it better.” Jean Deydier and his son Pierre in turn expanded the estate to its present size of 20 hectares of Châteauneuf du Pape and 12 hectares of Côtes du Rhone Massif d’Uchaux. Today, Pierre is aided by his daughter, Laurence and his nephew, Jean-Francois, who represent the sixth generation of the Deydier family.

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.

HNYDJDCLC09C_2009 Item# 144007