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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.
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 St Prefert Chateauneuf Du Pape 2018
St. Prefert was founded in the 1920s by Fernand Serre who purchased some 80 hectares of land here and established a reputation for making good quality Southern Rhone wines. Their Chateauneuf du Pape wines were amongst the first local wines to be exported to the United States, making them a global brand. Recently the domaine has enjoyed a resurgence under Isabel Ferrando who left a career as a successful banker to become a winemaker.
After learning the ropes at Domaine Raspail-Ay in Gigondas, Ferrando purchased St Prefert in 2002. As well as expanding the estate she has converted all of the vineyards to biodynamic agriculture and received official certification in 2013. This bottling is her classic Chateaneuf du Pape crafted predominantly from Grenache with an average vine age of 75 years, plus a drop of Mourvedre and Cinsault. Just a few hundred cases are made each year with the young wine aged for 18 months in 600 litre barrels and small barrels.
The nose is dominated by intense notes of crushed dark berries, cherries and dried fruit like raisins and plums. On the palate there is a generous full body, silky smooth texture and firm tannins that will help this wine to age beautifully in the cellar. Serve alongside seasonal game dishes or try pairing with roast beef.
Chateau de la Gardine Chateauneuf Du Pape 2018
The Brunel family have been winemakers since the 17th century, but it was only in 1945 that the renowned wine merchant Gaston Brunel purchased Château de la Gardine in Chateauneuf du Pape. Today the estate is run by two generations of Brunels, Gaston’s two sons and their wives along with his grandchildren. In total they have 52 hectares of prime vineyards which are predominantly planted to red varieties as well as 20 hectares of woodland to aid biodiversity and sustainability.
One unique feature of the winery is their original bottle design which is modelled on an ancient bottle Gaston found buried in the ground when he began digging to expand the cellar. To copy its unique shape he had to go all the way to Italy and all of the family’s wines have been put in these distinctive bottles since 1964.
The family’s classic Chateauneuf du Pape is sourced from vineyards with four different soil types to create a complex, multi-layered wine. Pebbly “galets” soils give structure and body, limestone brings minerality, and clay and sandy soils help to create elegance in the finished wine. Once vinified the wine is aged in a combination of stainless steel tanks and oak barrels for 9-14 months.