2012 Clos Saint-Jean "Deus Ex Machina" Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Pre-Arrival)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The largest-scaled and structured of the lineup, the 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape Dues-Ex Machina is a blend of 60% tank-aged Grenache and 40% barrel-aged (demi-muid) Mourvedre. Deep, concentrated and dense, with a massive core of dark berry and currant fruit, graphite, ground pepper, pan drippings and dusty earth aromas and flavors, this blockbuster effort is incredibly full-bodied in the vintage, yet never puts a foot wrong. My guess is that it will require a handful of years in the cellar and then age gracefully for two decades. Drink 2016-2032. 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)
Big but deftly balanced, with tiers of fig, blackberry, black currant and plum fruit supported by baker’s chocolate, maduro tobacco, pepper, bay and roasted alder notes. The intense finish lingers. Impressive. Best from 2017 through 2034.