Tardieu-Laurent Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2016
Here is a wine which gains more and more importance in their range. The fruit of a merciless selection, a meticulous attention, aiming at taking this Cuvée to the very top. A juicy, pulpy, greedy wine, which will delight.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
In this wine, enticing whiffs of leather and smoke lend flair to luscious black currant and plum. It's plush and rounded in mouthfeel but framed by fine, elegant tannins and a fresh cut of minerality on the finish. The wine delights already but should continue to improve through 2031.
Intense and juicy in feel, with a beam of dark currant, plum and raspberry reduction notes streaming through, carried by a graphite underpinning and ending with flashes of anise and fruitcake. This has good drive and should cellar well. Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah.
A ripe, spicy and slightly earthy Châteauneuf with strong and composed oak influence. The palate has ripe-fruit flavors in the red-plum zone, cradled in taut, glossy tannins.
Moving to the reds, the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape offers terrific finesse and elegant as well as medium full-bodied richness, lots of darker berry fruits, spice, garrigue and toasted bread aromatics, and a forward, charming, front-end loaded style. (Rating: 90-92)
A blend of 75% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 5% Mourvèdre, the sample of the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape seemed slightly off, with bruised-fruit aromas that distracted from the ripe black cherry fruit and savory black olive notes. It's full-bodied and sturdy, with what could be an interesting future. (Rating: 88-91)
Tardieu-Laurent is very much an "artisan" producer, making between half a dozen and 20 or so barrels of each wine. The majority of the wines are from the southern Rhône although superb cuvees of Cote Rôtie and Hermitage are also produced. The wines are all aged in small oak casks (often 100% new) and bottled with no fining nor filtration. Michel Tardieu proclaims himself as a confirmed terroirist, insisting that his aim with each appellation is to express powerfully the fruit and sense of place, never masking these factors with wood.
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, Châteauneuf-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 Châteauneuf-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 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is white wine. 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.
With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre form the base of the classic Rhône Red Blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. Though they originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley, with some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in other countries. Somm Secret—Putting their own local spin on the Rhône Red Blend, those from Priorat often include Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.