“Sisters Catherine Armenier and Sophie Estevenin, along with Estevenin’s son Vincent, produced what might be the finest wines of the appellation in 2016. [The cuvee Vieilles Vignes is] rare and, predictably, expensive, but the “basic” Châteauneuf 2016 measures up favorable with plenty of domaines’ reserve bottlings, making it a truly outstanding value.” Josh Raynolds, vinous.com
“Over the last 12 years, the biodynamically farmed vineyard has risen to the top of Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s quality hierarchy. The two red wines produced have been stunning, with the regular cuvée of Châteauneuf-du-Pape one of the finest in the appellation, and the limited production Cuvée Vieilles Vignes one of the world’s truly magnificent wines.” Robert Parker: The Wine Advocate
Very Limited. 97% old vine Grenache and 3% old vine Mourvèdre. Simply, one of the most limited and sought-after wines of Châteauneuf. This year our allocation was 56 bottles. This is a Grenache masterpiece. The fruit comes from three 'crown-jewel' parcels of exceptionally old vines in Les Charbonnières and Les Esqueirons. Les Charbonnières—on the northern side of the La Crau plateau—lays mostly on sandy soils with molassic sandstone and was planted in 1900. The vines are nearly all Grenache with a few vines of Mourvèdre (which account for 3% of the blend). The plot in Les Esqueirons lies behind the ruins of the famous château on the western side of the hill; here the Grenache vines (and some Roussanne) are rooted in limestone and white clay, with some planted in 1900 and the rest in 1949.
Each plot is vinified separately and all of the fruit is treated in the same minimalistic fashion as the classique above. Thus, what you taste, over and above the classique, simply reflects the fruit of these ancient vines and their terroirs. There was no oak used throughout the élevage; the wines are naturally fermented and raised—for 18 months—in concrete alone before being bottled unfiltered.
"Vivid ruby-red. Powerful raspberry liqueur, cherry pie, incense, potpourri and spicecake aromas show outstanding clarity and pick up a vibrant mineral nuance with aeration. Sweet and seamless in the mouth, offering deeply concentrated but shockingly lithe raspberry, cherry liqueur, five-spice powder and lavender pastille flavors given lift and spine by a jolt of juicy acidity. Blends richness and delicacy with a deft hand and finishes wonderfully long and precise, with pliant tannins adding shape and gentle grip. Is this the wine of the vintage? It's definitely on the (very) short list." 98 points, Josh Raynolds, vinous.com
“It captures the vintage perfectly, a year of abundance and southern bounty, but with balance and limits to any excess. There are pockets of perfume and a musky presence within the deeply set red fruits. The aftertaste is lip-smacking, extended. It’s almost knife and fork time here, so deep is it.” John Livingstone-Learmonth, drinkrhone.com
"....Is this the wine of the vintage? It's definitely on the (very) short list." 98 points, Josh Ray..
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