Roger Sabon Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Secret des Sabon 2009 Front Label
Roger Sabon Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Secret des Sabon 2009 Front LabelRoger Sabon Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Secret des Sabon 2009 Front Bottle Shot

Roger Sabon Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Secret des Sabon 2009

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  • RP94
750ML / 0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

Le Secret des Sabon began as an experimental cuvée and which has evolved to be one of the top wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. With only about a single demi-muid produced each year, from presumably old vines with their correspondingly low yields, there isn’t much to go around. It is quite surprising to taste Secret after the Cuvée Prestige, as one normally expects the “top” win of the estate to be the biggest, but this is a red herring. While there is an unmistakably glyceryl weight to Le Secret, it is more high-toned than you would initially expect. Red fruit predominates with stony and herbal accents that hint at a long life ahead. If we had to guess, we’d say that it is primarily Grenache and that it bears the hallmarks of a sandy terroir, but given the reticence of Didier and the generally more ethereal house style here, this is pure speculation.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 95
Wine Spectator
Dark, with very alluring espresso and smoke notes weaving through the dense flavors of fig paste, currant preserves, Black Forest cake and melted licorice. Features intense graphite and black tea notes on the finish, which is packed for now, but has good underlying racy acidity. Best from 2012 through 2024.
RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Tasted at the estate, the 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape le Secret de Sabon is going through a bit of a middle-aged awkwardness at the moment. It's still dark in color, with barely visible bricking, and exhibits a fair bit of lively black cherry fruit, but it has begun to develop notes of dried fig, roasted meat and dark chocolate. Full-bodied and rich, it's savory and long on the finish. Drink or hold, but not for too much longer.

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Roger Sabon

Roger Sabon

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Roger Sabon, France
Roger Sabon Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the morning Winery Image
"The Sabon family is an ancient and well-regarded name in Chateauneuf-du-Pape first mentioned in documents dating back to 1540. Perhaps not as venerable as the Ameniers of Domaine de Marcoux and Domaine Giraud, but still eminently respectable. A more recent patriarch of the family, Seraphin Sabon first bottled wine in the appellation under the family’s name in 1921. He also fathered three very enterprising sons, all of whom established their own domaines: Joseph Sabon at Clos du Mont Olivet, Noel Sabon at Chante Cigale and Roger Sabon. The Sabons are like the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young of the village.

Domaine Roger Sabon was founded in 1952 and is currently run by Roger’s sons Denis and Gilbert. A third son, Jean-Jacques is deceased but his son-in-law Didier Negron is the current winemaker. Denis and his son Julien oversee the farming while Gilbert and his niece, Delphine run the office. It is quite the family affair!

The size of the domaine has grown slowly over the years with 18 hectares in Chateauneuf du Pape, 8 hectares in Lirac and 8 hectares in Côtes-du-Rhône. Most of their holdings in Chateauneuf-du-Pape are located in the northeastern part of the appellation, where the soils are sandier with a high concentration of limestone. They also own a few parcels in Le Crau famous for its red clay under a deep layer of galets deposited from the alps eons ago. These two soil types combine to make wines that are equally rich and nuanced.

Since 2001 Didier Negron has made the wines at Domaine Roger Sabon, but recently he’s begun to move away from demi-muids and barriques in favor of aging his family’s wines in concrete and large French oak foudres. While the terroir of Roger Sabon, with its high concentration of sand and limestone, has always been inclined to a more ethereal and delicate style of Chateauneuf, Didier’s changes in the cellar have amplified these qualities – the wines have never been more engaging and lovely.

While Grenache is the mainstay at the Domaine, they also grow Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Terret Noire, Counoise, Vaccarèse Muscardin, Roussanne, Clairette, Bourboulenc and Grenache Blanc. They own some fairly old Syrah, about 60 years old, located on limestone soils which is an important component in the Prestige bottling. Their oldest vines, topping 100 years old, are located in two plots near Courthézon, and are the source for the Secret des Sabon. While details are sketchy and the Sabons are shy about divulging any information about this cuvée, it is safe to assume that these vines are primarily Grenache. In the cellar there is a single demi-muid in the shadows which is presumably the Secret des Sabon, but once again polite inquires are met with a Gallic shrug."

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Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Rhone, France

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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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YAO369251_2009 Item# 369251

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