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Domaine du Vieux Lazaret Chateauneuf du Pape 2015
Domaine du Vieux Lazaret ranks amongst Châteauneuf du Pape’s largest and most successful wineries thanks to some 93 acres of prime vineyards spread across the appellation. This diversity of plots helps to create especially complex and multi-layered Chateauneuf du Pape wines thanks to the broad range of soil types, microclimates and different vine ages. The unusual name of the estate is the legacy of an 18th century hospice run by the Lazarist monks which have been owned by the Quiot family for generations.
Their powerful red Chateauneuf du Pape is crafted from 13 indigenous varieties as is common for the region, including Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault and Carignan. The vines used have an average age of 37 years which ensures high quality and intensely-flavoured fruit. To add additional complexity and polish the young wine is aged in large oak foudres and vats for 18 months.
Boysenberry, blackberry and ripe plum characterise the nose, while on the palate there are hints of dried herbs, dark chocolate and subtle spice as well as the luscious dark berry flavours. The first sip reveals a generous full body, firm tannins, smooth texture and long, balanced finish. The powerful structure and flavour profile will help this wine age gracefully in the cellar, although it can also be enjoyed now with hearty beef stews, game or prime cuts of red meat.
Mordoree Chateauneuf du Pape La Reine des Bois 2018
Founded by Christophe and Fabrice Delorme in 1986, over the years the Mordoree estate has flourished to become one of the most dynamic and consistent producers of quality wines in the southern Rhone Valley. The estate’s 55 hectares of vineyards cover a range of appellations, microclimates, and soil conditions, allowing the Delorme family to craft a diverse portfolio which captures the essence of the region.
The estate produces several red Chateauneuf du Pape wines with the La Reine des Bois considered the iconic wine of Mordoree. The blend includes Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Syrah and Vaccarese grapes which are sourced from the well-sited La Clau vineyard which boasts an average vine age of 60 years.
On arrival at the winery the grapes are fully destemmed and vinified with the young wine subsequently aged in a combination of French oak barrels and stainless steel tanks. Over the years the amount of oak has decreased in recognition of the intense richness of the wine which needs only a small touch of oak to bring out its true character. The result is a remarkably concentrated and generous Chateauneuf du Pape which bursts with deep dark berry, licorice, dried herb, and earthy notes which linger long on the palate.
Tardieu Laurent Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Speciale 2017
This opulent Chateauneuf du Pape opens with an intense bouquet of cedar, crushed dark berries and cigar smoke while the first sip reveals a luscious full body, well-developed tannins and firm structure which will respond well to extended cellaring. On the palate the sophisticated flavour profile features hints of leather, dried Mediterranean herbs and wildflowers along with rich cassis, black cherry and plum.
This Cuvée Spéciale is one of the winery’s finest bottlings and is crafted from very low-yielding 80-100 year old Grenache vines planted on top quality sandy soils. The wine is produced in tiny quantities and matured in new French oak barrels for 12 months followed by a further 12 months in large oak casks or foudres.
Domaine Tardieu Laurent was founded in 1994 and does not own any vineyards, preferring to purchase top quality young wines from the southern and northern Rhone regions. The project was born out of a collaboration between Dominique Laurent who is famed for his exquisite Burgundies and up-and-coming winemaker Michel Tardieu. Working as a negociant allows the winery to buy the very finest wines each vintage and they insist on only purchasing from small producers who own old vines of at least 50 years.
Chateau Maucoil Privilege Chateauneuf du Pape 2016
Bramble, dried Mediterranean herbs and plum jam characterise the evocative nose of this exquisite Chateauneuf du Pape, while the first sip reveals ripe black cherries, bitter chocolate and hints of smokey toast. There are firm tannins and a fine structure along with a full body, decent acidity levels and lusciously smooth mouthfeel. This is a wine that can be cellar aged for at least another ten to fifteen years. It can also be enjoyed now alongside a prime steak, hearty beef stew or venison roasted with herbs.
The venerable Chateau Maucoil has an ancient history which dates back to Roman times who created a base there for Julius Caesar’s army. Many years later, in 1624, the estate was inherited by Joseph de La Pise who initiated winemaking here. Since 1995 Chateau Maucoil has been owned by the Arnaud family who also have a long presence in the region and the estate is currently run by Benedicte and her husband, Charles Bonnet.
Since 2011 the family have tended the estate according to organic agricultural principles and they prefer to use low impact methods like ploughing and furrowing out of respect the natural environment.
Domaine Du Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Reservee 2014
Domaine du Pegau is owned by the Feraud family who can trace their roots right back to the 17th century in the Southern Rhone. Daughter Laurence and father Paul work tirelessly to produce traditional-style Châteauneuf du Pape wines. Regarded as one of the region’s top producers, Pegau has 11 parcels of prime vineyards in Courthézon, La Solitude and Bédarrides which cover around 47 acres in total.
Their Cuvée Reserve is predominantly composed of Grenache along with a smaller proportion of Syrah and Mourvèdre, Counoise and other varieties. All of their grapes are harvested by hand and then fermented without destemming to add complexity. The young wine is then aged in large oak foudres for an average of 24 months. There is no fining or filtering before bottling to preserve the authentic character of the wine.
The nose opens with dark berry notes, licorice, leather and dried herbs while the first sip reveals a full body, firm tannins and very long finish. On the palate there are intense cherry, plum and cassis notes seasoned with black pepper, tobacco leaf and hints of cigar box spice from the oak maturation. A great addition to the cellar or partner for hearty red meat dishes.
Domaine du Grand Tinel Cuvee Alexis Establet Chateauneuf Du Pape 2016
Originally founded in the late 1700s under the name Chateauneuf Calcernier, Domaine du Grand Tinel is actually one of the Southern Rhone’s oldest wineries and amongst the first to start bottling their own Chateauneuf du Pape wines in 1906. These days the domaine holds some 56 hectares of vines including some 100-year old Grenache and other plots of old vines which help to produce exceptionally complex and age worthy wines.
Their Cuvee Alexis Establet was first produced in 1997 and is only produced during the best vintages. The wine is crafted from 100% old vine Grenache from the revered La Gardiole lieu-dit. Made in a modern style, the young wine is aged in a complex mixture of new French oak barrels, used barrels, and larger casks for up to 18 months.
On the nose there are seductive aromas of plums soaked in brandy, figs, and crushed dark berries while the first sip reveals intense flavours of dark cherries, currants and raisins seasoned with hints of dried herbs and baked earth. Full-bodied and well-rounded on the palate, the complexity and intensity of this wine makes it a great contender for extended cellaring or pairing with heavy red meat dishes.