2011 Clos Saint-Jean "Vieilles Vignes" Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
More rich and layered, with fantastic notes of blackberry liqueur, strawberry, garrigue and lavender, the 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes (85% tank-aged Grenache and the balance Syrah and Mourvedre, fermented with some stem inclusion) is full-bodied, beautifully concentrated and has pure, polished tannin framing the finish nicely. It’s a gorgeous, even elegant, 2011 that will drink well for 12-15 years. Drink now-2027. Always one of the highlight visits during my time spent working in the Southern Rhone, Clos Saint-Jean, which includes over 100 acres of prime terroir in Chateauneuf du Pape (mostly in the south), is run by brothers Pascal and Vincent Maurel, with consulting help from the incredibly talented Philippe Cambie. Releasing 5 Chateauneufs in top vintages, they also pair up with Manfred Krankl, of Sine Qua Non in California’s Santa Barbara County, and release another high-end cuvee call Chimere. While the winemaking here is often labeled as modern, it is actually relatively traditional, with the Grenache almost always aged in tank and only the Mourvedre and Syrah seeing time in larger, 500-600 liter oak barrels, or demi-muids. In addition, the cuvees may also include small amounts of whole-cluster fermentation. Regardless of how you classify it, the results speak for themselves and there are few wines in the world I’d rather drink. (JD)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Ruby-red. Sexy raspberry and cherry compote aromas are complicated by exotic notes of apricot and potpourri. Offers palate-staining red fruit liqueur flavors that gain weight and power with aeration. Impressively lively for its heft and intensity, finishing sweet, gently tannic and very long. Vincent Maurel told me that the plantings for this wine, which are virtually all grenache, stretch back to 1905.
A fresh, open, accessible style, offering silky-textured raspberry, black cherry and plum fruit, lined with hints of cinnamon, black tea and shiso leaf. The graceful finish lets the raspberry note echo. Drink now through 2022.