1998 Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape

SKU #1061359 97 points Wine Spectator

 Displays gorgeous, savage aromas and flavors, with crushed juniper berry, hot tar, sage leaf, roasted chestnut and grilled beef notes that scorch across the palate. Still rugged on the finish, though the color at the rim and the intensity and range of the aromas show that this is evolving. (JM)  (9/2007)

96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 1998 Chateauneuf du Pape from the Michel family was firing on all cylinders for this retrospective, and while I’ve had bottles stateside that seem tired, this was beautiful on all accounts. Garrigue, truffle, leather and plenty of ripe fruit flow to a full-bodied, mouth filling and unctuously textured feel on the palate. A classic, foudre-aged blend of 75% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre and the rest other permitted varieties, I would drink bottles ASAP while they’re showing this beautifully, but it will certainly hold nicely for another 7-8 years. (JD)  (8/2015)

94 points Vinous

 The 1998 Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape presented a slightly more restrained, graceful style of Châteauneuf in its silky tannins and graceful, elegant fruit. It, too, was fabulous. (AG)  (6/2010)

94 points Wine Enthusiast

 Inky and rustic, yet in a refined manner. This is knock-out juice if you like ’em big and flavorful. The full bouquet of grape, raisin, oak, licorice and herb aromas pulls you in and the follow-up palate of dense blackberry flavors with herb and smoke shadings fulfills the promise the nose makes. Loads of oak here, but there’s great depth of fruit for it to play against.  (12/2000)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Deep red. Spicy, deeply pitched aromas of fresh raspberry, pepper, cinnamon, gunflint and game. Thick, silky and compellingly sweet in the mouth, with liqueur-like flavors of raspberry, blackberry and game. Superripe but not over the top. Finishes very long, with fine, dusty tannins. Not the most complex or primary example of the vintage, but this could not be mistaken for anything but ripe-vintage Chateauneuf du Pape. (ST)  (1/2001)

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- Fat, ripe and rich with ample fruit and vibrant acidity, wines made from Grenache are easy to love. While its origins are still under dispute - some suggest Spain, where it is called Garnacha, while others say it came first from Sardinia, where it is called Cannonau - it is inarguably one of the most planted varietals in the world. A hearty grape, Grenache does well in hot, dry regions and its sturdy stalk also makes it well-suited to withstand blustery conditions like the Provençal Mistral. It ripens at relatively high sugar levels, which translates to higher potential alcohol in the wines it produces. Grenache may be most famous in the Southern Rhône areas such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas where it has long been an important component of delicious blends. But it's also the source of the crisp rosés from Tavel, Lirac and Provence, and age-worthy vins doux naturels like Rivsaltes and Banyuls. Grenache is also found in large swaths of northeastern Spain, in Navarre, in Rioja, where it plays a supporting role in blends with Tempranillo, and in the distinctive wines of Priorat. The grape was once the most widely planted varietal in Australia, though Shiraz and Cabernet have overtaken it. In California, Grenache plantings have dwindled from their heyday in the San Joaquin Valley, but it is starting to see a resurgence, albeit in smaller plantings, where other Rhône varietals thrive.


- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them.


- Legendary wine-producing region in southeast France. Stereotypically speaking, Rhone wines are high in alcohol, and the majority produced is red. The northern Rhone is best known for outstanding 100% Syrah wines from areas such as Cote Rotie and Hermitage, as well as for fabulous white wines from Condrieu (where Viognier is king). In the southern Rhone, look for spicy, full-bodied wines that are blends of Grenache, Syrah, and other varietals coming from appellations such as Chateauneuf du Pape, Gigondas, or Rasteau. Wines labeled as Cote du Rhone or Cotes du Rhone Village (a cut above generic Cotes du Rhone) are frequently found here in the US because they often represent some of the best values on the market.
Specific Appellation:

Chateauneuf du Pape