2001 Tardieu Laurent "Cuvée Speciale" Châteauneuf-du-Pape

SKU #1346152 95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 A debut offering, the 2001 Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes Cuvee Speciale was fashioned with 100% stems from 75-80 year old Grenache vines from the appellation’s eastern sector known as La Crau. This 1,000-case cuvee boasts a black/blue/purple color. While closed, it reveals tremendous concentration along with a formidable assortment of flavors including ripe figs, creme de cassis, chocolate, melted licorice, espresso, and earth. Full-bodied, magnificently concentrated, and pure, with reserves of power, it has the potential to be magical, but patience will be a virtue given its backwardness at present. It’s hard to believe this wine has close to 16% natural alcohol, but that component is completely concealed by the level of concentration. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2023. (RP)  (2/2004)

92-95 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 (100% from the lieu-dit Crau; 15.5% alcohol; no new oak used here) Bright medium ruby. Musky, slightly rustic aromas of roast coffee and chocolate. Liqueur-like surmaturite in the mouth; thick but with enlivening vinosity. Shows an intriguing iron nuance to go with the roasted garrigue character. The "regular" old-vines bottling is more aristocratic, while this is more traditional, rustic Chateauneuf, but with uncanny sweetness and depth of flavor. Finishes with huge tannins that will require several years of bottle aging. This cuvee was more raisiny, with more of a figgy character from dried grapes, noted Tardieu, and thus he couldn't combine it with the rest of the old-vines juice. (ST)  (1/2003)

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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