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2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape: An Extraordinary Vintage in Review - 12/29/2017 - Rhone Valley

If you’ve yet to jump on the 2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape bandwagon, there’s no better time than the present. The early reports surrounding this delightful vintage were more than favorable, which many suggesting it was the best in a decade. Now that many are in-stock and even more in-bottle, the superior quality of the 2015s is firmly established. A long and warm growing season allowed for an optimal level of ripeness, which in turn, has made for highly expressive wines with excellent power and concentration. Big, but well integrated tannins were seen across the board securing their longevity. For those who seek CDPs with great verve and intensity, the 2015s are poised to reward to a good long while. Featured here are some of the top wines from this blockbuster vintage. Demand has been high from the outset, so we don’t expect these bottles to stick around much longer. Prices are super sharp, so this is the perfect opportunity to load up.

Vintage Item Name Score Retail Link
2015 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Pre-Arrival) 97 $69.99 View
2015 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Pre-Arrival) 98 $99.99 View
2015 Domaine du Pégaü "Cuvée da Capo" Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Pre-Arrival) 99 $379.99 View
2015 Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Pre-Arrival) 95 $44.99 View
2015 Domaine La Barroche "Signature" Chateauneuf-du-Pape 93 Price: Hidden View
2015 Domaine de Marcoux Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes 98 $129.99 View
2015 Clos Saint-Jean Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes 94 $39.99 View


2015 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Pre-Arrival) - -453 available ($69.99)

97 points James Suckling: "All 13 grapes. This has a dark fruited, blueberry and blue plum nose with wide swinging tannins. Some white peppery elements, violets, brooding dark spices, blue fruits and dark plums. Builds from the ground up. Dark stones. Impressive, powerful wine. Drink from 2025. *Top 100 of 2017*" (08/2017)

97 points Wine Spectator: "A stunner from the get-go, with waves of thoroughly seductive boysenberry, plum, blueberry and raspberry reduction forming the core, while roasted apple wood, rooibos tea, bergamot, and anise notes flash throughout. Has plenty of bass, with a Turkish coffee accent and a hint of alder driving underneath. Everything moves in lockstep through the seriously long finish. Best from 2020 through 2045. (JM)" (09/2017)

96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Bottled in late July, the 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape is an amazing effort, especially when one considers the production volume. Loaded with black cherry fruit and cola-like spice, this full-bodied, richly textured wine never seems heavy or warm, while exotic Indian spice notes linger on the finish. It should drink well for at least 20 years. (JC)" (10/2017)

96 points Jeb Dunnuck: "The 2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape checks in as a blend of 30% each of Mourvèdre and Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Counoise and the rest a mix of permitted varieties, and theyre more and more keeping the stems with Syrah component. This is a beauty that offers more depth and richness than just about every other wine in the vintage. Blackberry, black raspberries, garrigue, spice and hints of saddle leather all flow to a full-bodied, rich, layered 2015 that has a stacked, concentrated mid-palate, ripe, sweet tannin and an undeniable opulence thats missing from too many 2015s. Marc Perrin compared this cuvée to 2001, and I cant disagree with him. Drink this blockbuster beauty anytime over the coming two decades. The Perrin family continues to knock it out of the park and have produced some of the wines of the vintage in 2015. 96+ points." (10/2017)

93-95 points Vinous: "Brilliant ruby. Spice-accented aromas of ripe red fruits, candied flowers, earth and smoky minerals; a zesty white pepper quality emerges with aeration. Sweet, expansive and energetic on the palate, offering intense raspberry, spicecake and lavender flavors and a subtle touch of smoke. Completely stains the palate and shows outstanding clarity on the strikingly long, focused finish, where smooth tannins make a late appearance. (JR)" (03/2017)

95 points Decanter: "Depth and detail on the dark-fruit nose. Stylish, balanced and very persistent, delivers crunchy, spicy fruit. Drinking Window 2020-2044. (JL)" (04/2017)

Jancis Robinson: "Superb juiciness and bramble fruits. Some blackcurrant notes on the palate, a very savoury cigar and cedar character and a gentle Provençal herby note. Loads of breadth and complexity. (RH)" (10/2016)

Staff ImageKeith Mabry | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 09, 2017

A recent visit to Beaucastel for some barrel tasting definitely showed us why this is consistently one of the best producers in the region. The 2015 has all of the beautiful rich undertones of classic CDP with the fresh lifted quality of the vintage. Copious fruit, spicebox nuances and an impeccably balanced palate of sweet tannins and underlying acidity. A wine that will drink well in its youth and evolve gracefully for 15-20 years.

2015 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Pre-Arrival) ($99.99)

98 points Wine Spectator: "This has a drop-dead gorgeous core of cassis and raspberry pâte de fruit flavors that holds center stage but still allows notes of Lapsang souchong tea, anise, incense and shiso leaf to chime in. Very long, with a sublime feel through the mineral-tinged finish. So seductive already, but this will cruise in the cellar. Drink now through 2040." (08/2017)

97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Bottled in May, the 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape is a floral, elegant, unbelievably complex wine. Roses and violets, cherries and stone fruit, cinnamon and allspice and more are carried across the full-bodied yet almost weightless palate, finishing in a swirl of silky tannins and lingering spice. Drink it over the next two decades. Because there are fewer wines to taste at Clos des PapesPaul-Vincent Avril steadfastly produces only a single white and a single red Châteauneuf du Papethere is more time to talk. "I love Burgundy," he says, and that preference is reflected in the wines. On the other hand, "Maturity for Grenache is never under 14.5%, but it's not at 16% or 17% for me." He also allows that it's not all about Grenache, saying that complexity comes from blending varieties and sites, which he often does in the same fermentation vats. There's no oak used for the whites because he feels the wines lose too much freshness. For the reds, it was instructive to taste through various foudres to see the differences that varietal makeup and site can have on the wines. He compares 2016 to 2010 and 1990, while 2015 he likens to 2005 and 1978. You won't be disappointed in whichever one you choose.(JC)" (10/2017)

94-96 points Vinous: "(raised in foudres) Deep ruby. Hugely aromatic red and dark berry, potpourri and floral scents are underscored by smoky minerality and an exotic suggestion of Asian spices. Sappy, focused and impressively deep yet lively, offering alluringly sweet raspberry, cherry compote and spicecake flavors and a refreshingly bitter touch of blood orange. Puts on weight and spreads out steadily with air, acquiring a succulent herb note that carries through the strikingly long, mineral-laced, gently tannic finish. This beauty is shaping up to be among the standouts of this extremely successful vintage. (JR)" (03/2017)

96 points Decanter: "A superlatively elegant, middleweight, Mourvèdrerich Châteauneuf that glides across the palate like silk, featuring juicy plum and strawberry fruits, lifted juniper and fennel seed freshness. Very fine clay tannins. Intense but not through extraction; generous, but with energy and precision. Effortless.(MW)" (01/2017)

95 points Jeb Dunnuck: "Tasted on three separate occasions, the 2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Paul-Vincent is a classic, elegant, and incredibly complex style of wine reminiscent of a Grand Cru Red Burgundy (Chambolle-Musigny?). Black raspberries, blueberries, incense, pine resin, dried orange and exotic floral notes give way to a medium to full-bodied, ethereally textured 2015 that has moderate tannin, beautiful purity, and a seamless finish. I compared this to an improved 2005 last year when I tasted it from barrel, but Im not sure that comparison holds today, and I struggle to come up with another similar vintage. Nevertheless, this is a beautiful wine that should be at its best from 2020-2030+. (JebDunnuck.com)" (10/2017)

93 points James Suckling: "Impressive and bright mixed summer berry and spiced cherry fruits on the nose in a vibrant, alluringly complex style. The palate delivers succulently ripe red cherry and plum fruit flavors. Plenty of weight. Gently warm and spicy finish. Drink from 2020." (08/2017)

2015 Domaine du Pégaü "Cuvée da Capo" Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Pre-Arrival) ($379.99)

96-99 points Jeb Dunnuck: "The 2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Da Capo is smoking good. Blackcurrants, lavender, garrigue, violets, cured meats and saddle leather all flow from this rich, unctuous, incredibly decadent 2015 that has sweet tannin, a huge mid-palate, and more concentration than just about every other wine in the vintage. (JebDunnuck.com)" (10/2017)

95-97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Slated to be bottled in January 2018, the 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee da Capo is an impressively endowed wine by any measure. Aromas? Floral, fruity and spicy. Flavors? Black cherries and plums with hints of meat and licorice. Weight and texture? Ample and silky. Finish? Never-ending and nuanced. This big but balanced beauty should drink well for at least two decades. (JC)" (10/2017)

95-97 points Vinous: "Saturated ruby. Highly perfumed aromas of ripe dark berries, incense and garrigue , accented by a sexy Asian spice nuance in the background. Plush, seamless and alluringly sweet, offering intense black raspberry, cherry liqueur and floral pastille flavors that reach every corner of the palate. Smooth, seamless and deeply concentrated but lively as well; velvety tannins add shape to an extremely long, spice- and mineral-accented finish. The interplay of richness and vivacity here is awfully impressive. (JR)" (03/2017)

2015 Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Pre-Arrival) ($44.99)

95 points Jeb Dunnuck: "I loved the 2015 Châteauneuf du Pape from Claire Michel and its a classic blend of 75% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre and 5% Cinsault, mostly from rolled stone terroirs, that was partially destemmed and brought up all in foudre. Its a downright sexy, voluptuous 2015 offering textbook notes of kirsch liqueur, ground pepper, herbes de Provence, and incense. It picks up more dark fruit with time in the glass, is full-bodied, has plenty of fat and glycerin, and ample tannin, although theyre so polished you have to hunt for them. This gorgeous example of traditionally made Châteauneuf du Pape thats going to drink beautifully for 15+ years." (10/2017)

93-95 points Vinous: "Vivid ruby. Sexy, high-pitched red berry preserve, floral pastille and Asian spice aromas show outstanding clarity. Sappy, penetrating black raspberry, spicecake and licorice flavors gain weight with air and pick up suggestions of blood orange and smoky minerals. Shows impressive depth and polish, alluring sweetness and no rough edges. Showcases the best attributes of this warm vintage, finishing with silky, mounting tannins and lingering florality. (JR)" (03/2017)

95 points Wine Spectator: "Rich and dark, with delicious, velvety layers of warm fig, black currant and blackberry confiture flecked with hints of ganache, roasted apple wood and tar. The finish has cut to match the heft. A real brick house. (JM)" (09/2017)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "These days, Vieux Donjon is one of the few estates in the region making only a single cuvée (Close des Papes is another). The 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape is a floral, violet-scented wine that's supple and ripe. Only medium to full-bodied, it showcases complex garrigue and licorice notes rather than oodles of red fruit and comes to a long, silky finish. (JC)" (10/2017)

Jancis Robinson: "Crista (north), Moulin à Vent, Mourre de Gaud, Pied de Baud, Pied Long. 5% Cinsault, 75% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah. Partial whole bunch. Vinified in cement tank. Aged for 18 months in foudre. Tasted blind. Very dark healthy crimson. Lightly medicinal on the nose. Lots of energy here with big fruit impact and fine tannins. This should deliver. A confident, non-formulaic rendition. Long and spicy. Quite intense. 17.5/20 points (JR)" (10/2016)

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2015 Domaine La Barroche "Signature" Chateauneuf-du-Pape Price: Hidden

91-93 points Vinous: "(fermented in concrete eggs and aged in foudres and stainless steel tanks) Vivid ruby. Highly expressive cherry and black raspberry aromas are complicated by energetic floral and Asian spice nuances. Sappy, sweet and broad in the mouth, offering juicy, densely packed red and dark berry flavors that become deeper as the wine open up. Stains the palate and shows impressive vivacity on the persistent, floral-dominated finish, which is framed by silky, harmonious tannins. (JR)" (03/2017)

92 points Jeb Dunnuck: "The 2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the young Julien Barrot is a perfumed, elegant release that's loaded with notions of currants, kirsch, licorice, and spice. It's silky, elegant, ethereally textured and long, with the freshness and classic style of the vintage. As usual, the classic cuvée is a blend of roughly 60% Grenache, 18% Mourvèdre and the balance Clairette Rose, Cinsault, Syrah, and Vaccarèse, fermented all in concrete tanks and aged mostly in foudre. 2,500 cases." (10/2017)

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2015 Domaine de Marcoux Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes ($129.99)

96-98 points Vinous: "Lurid ruby. A heady, expressive bouquet evokes fresh raspberry, cherry compote, potpourri, licorice and Asian spices, while a bright mineral flourish builds in the glass. Sweet, palate-staining red fruit liqueur, lavender pastille and spicecake flavors show outstanding depth as well as vivacity thanks to a core of juicy acidity. Plays power off finesse with a deft hand and finishes incredibly long, sappy and pure; velvety tannins emerge very slowly. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see this monumental wine turn out to be the star of the 2015 vintage in the Rhône Valley, south as well as north. (JR)" (03/2017)

96 points Jeb Dunnuck: "Similar in style, yet with additional depth and density, the 2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes is a sensational effort and one of the gems in the vintage. Kirsch liqueur, blueberries, spice, and incense notes all develop in the glass, and this beauty hits the palate with full-bodied richness, silky, fine tannin impeccable balance and a great finish. As with the traditional cuvée, it's as seamless as they come, and while it's already impossible to resist, it's going to keep for 15+ years." (10/2017)

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes (about 97% Grenache) was entirely destemmed. According to Sophie Armenier, its alcohol level is a whopping 16+%, but it was completely concealed by the wine's intricate spice complexities. Licorice, cola, cinnamon, clove and allspice all interweave with cherries to form a silky web that glides across the palate and into a long, long finish. (JC)" (10/2017)

94 points Decanter: "Glistening, bright fruit aroma. Tasty, refined,sleek and wholesome palate: lovely finesse here. (JLL)" (04/2017)

Staff ImageKeith Mabry | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 08, 2017

One of, if not my wine of the vintage. When I tasted this in2016 from the oak tank, it was one of the most exotic and perfumedyoung CdPs I had ever tasted. When tasted earlier this year, it wasagain revelatory. Concentrated yet refreshing, with so much gorgeousfruit and spice, the wine is beginning to firm up around the edges. Iwould not say the wine will shut down, but there are signs that 510years in bottle will reward those who cellar it with a truly exceptionalwine.

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2015 Clos Saint-Jean Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes ($39.99)

94 points Jeb Dunnuck: "Coming from an old vine selection and a smaller production release for the US market, the 2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes tastes like the classic cuvée, only on steroids. Kirsch, loads of black and blue fruits, flowers and lavender notes all emerge from this full-bodied 2015 that has fine, fine tannin, solid mid-palate depth and a great finish. It certainly offers pleasure today, yet will keep for 10-15 years. (JebDunnuck.com)" (10/2017)

94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A special cuvée produced for the American importer, Eric Solomon, the 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes is huge. It blends 85% or more concrete-aged Grenache with small amounts of Syrah and Mourvèdre aged in barrique. The result is a massive wine filled with red fruit. The tannins are ripe to the point of creaminess on the mid-palate then firm up on the long finish. This hides its alcohol better than the regular cuvée and should age longer as a result. (JC)" (10/2017)

91-93 points Vinous: "Vivid ruby. Spice-accented aromas of red and dark berry liqueur, lavender and white pepper, backed by a subtle hint of garrigue. Fresh, expansive and appealingly sweet, offering palate-caressing black raspberry, cherry and spicecake flavors that deepen on the back half. Shows depth as well as energy and finishes with very good focus and sneaky tannins that blend smoothly with the plush fruit. (JR)" (03/2017)

93 points Wine Spectator: "Rich, with lots of cassis, crushed plum and warm raspberry reduction notes wrapped with licorice root and ganache accents. The solid grip is well-buried on the finish, leaving a tarry echo lingering with the fruit. (JM)" (09/2017)

Staff ImageKeith Mabry | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 27, 2017

Recently I had two of the most tremendous Chateauneufs at a dinner party and they affirmed why I fell in love with the wines from this region so long ago. They were both served at a dinner party where the staple was multiple courses of beef cooked over Japanese charcoal. The first was a 1995 Marcoux Vieilles Vignes that was seamless and I would put it easily in my top five CDPs of all time. The second was a 2004 Clos Saint Jean Deux Ex Machina. Not what the critics would qualify as a great vintage but easily one of the best wines I have ever tasted from Saint-Jean. The wine was deep rich and showed more of the modern qualities of Chateauneuf. The beauty was how it unfolded in waves of flavors and not one big chunk of balmy fruit. It was gorgeous and went beautifully with the fattier cuts of meat. So what about this 2015? Well after tasting an retasting - I found qualities from both of those great wines in what is surely the most harmonious Vieilles Vignes I have yet tasted. A beautiful panoply of spices unfolds followed by layers of rich but not over-ripe fruit leading to a long and lingering finish. Like I've been saying, 2015 has produced wines that scale back the opulence but bring out the layers. The Clos Saint Jean VV is a worthy addition to any collector's cellar and it will surely be a part of mine.