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We were very excited a few years ago to discover the beautiful Châteauneuf-du-Papes of Chapelle Saint-Theodoric, a project by importer Peter Weygandt with winemaker Baptiste Grangeon of Domaine du Christia. The wines are aromatically complex and lovely, not heavy or over-extracted with fabulous density and length on the palate but with lightness and elegance in a Burgundan style - truly extraordinary and unusual! These have become some of our favorite Châteauneuf-du-Papes (along with Pierre André, Charvin and Eric Texier...!)
(Wines arrive March 14th, normal 10% case/mixed case disount applies)
(A note about vintages: It's clear that 2019 is an excellent vintage in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, in the same group with 2010 and 2016 of full-bodied age-worthy wines. And we hear good things about the 2020s at some of our favorite estates which are reporting very pretty wines with a bit less alcohol, for drinking before the 2019s.)
The domain is comprised of two parcels; one in the lieu-dit "La Guigasse," which is a pure sand soil and where the vines (all Grenache) range in age of from 50 to 100 years; and the other parcel at the top of Pignan, "Le Grand Pin," literally adjoining the vines of Chateau Rayas, also in pure sand and also pure, old vines Grenache. The farming is organic. There is a two to three week vinification, with the stems, with wild yeasts and minimal extraction. The wines are aged for two years in four to ten year-old 600-liter barrels and are bottled unfined and unfiltered. The wines are not inexpensive, but for lovers of elegance and finesse in the Rhone Valley, they are essential.
"The two parcels are vinified and aged and bottled separately, but with the exact same treatment, the experiment being to find what terroir differences one might find, between vines less than 200 meters apart, both on sand, pure Grenache and traditional vinification. The result has been a most exciting and successful experiment: The difference between the wines from these two parcels is clear and distinct. La Guigasse is the slightly richer of the two. The Grand Pin, perhaps because the sand is nearly pure white, perhaps the higher elevation or due to some other factor we have not yet determined, makes a wine that is lower in alcohol, more perfumed and finer."
"Les Sablons" was made in 2014 and 2016 and was a lovely wine and a superb value in both vintages. The 2019, similar to the 2016, offers a style that mixes the two single vineyards with beautiful results, and at a lower price point, making the "Les Sablons" a great choice for current drinkng and for cellaring of up to 20 years.
The diverse terroirs of Chateauneuf-du-Pape often extend beyond the boundaries of the AOC which results in the production of superb Côtes du Rhône or Côtes du Rhone Villages by producers with parcels just outside the CDP zone, especially in excellent vintages such as 2016 and 2019. Our recent offer of the lovely 2019 Domaine de Ferrand Cuvee Antiques Vieilles Vignes sold out quickly and we are glad to offer it again, arriving this week.
Another great junior Châteauneuf is the 2016 Mas de Boislauzon Côtes du Rhône Villages Les Deux Chenes, which comes from old vines in the "Bois Lauzon" and "Coudelet" vineyards. This was a bit young when we first offered it in 2018 but this deep and complex wine is drinking beautifully now - "best from 2019 until 2028 - 2030" says drinkrhone - it's the Real Thing at a real price!
Chappelle St. Theodoric - a project of winemaker Bapiste Grangeon and Peter Weygandt - has quickly become one of our favorite Southern Rhône producers. The domaine is comprised of two parcels of Grenache vines (each ranging in age between 50-100 years): La Guigasse, a soil of pure sand, and Le Grand Pin, a terroir of pure sand at the top of Pignan - and famously neighboring Château Rayas. "Les Sablons" is Grenache from both parcels, and is not produced in every vintage - we loved the 2014 and 2016 which were very much in the style of Guigasse and Grand Pin and we loved the price as well. Here is what Livingstone-Learmonth has to say about the 2019 "dark red, a little pale at the top. The bouquet carries well weighted raspberry, ripe red berry fruit with a distinct note of iodine, seashore and its freshness, a touch of licorice. The palate presents a steady run of spiced red fruited content, has a crisp edge in the tannins, its middle tasty, raspberry-fruited, the finish dark, almost tarry. It’s a naked style of Châteauneuf, unadorned, carries potential to fuse, and retain sound clarity as it evolves. Late intensity reveals the inner strength of the vintage. Drink from 2023-24 until 2043-45." Sounds good to me...
Le Grand Pin is all Grenache from the top of the Pignan vineyard literally adjoining the vines of Chateau Rayas on sandy soils. Whole-cluster fermentation in concrete vat with wild yeasts, minimal extraction, aged in 4 to 10 year-old large casks. The terroir here gives a relatively light-bodied, very fine style of Chateauneuf. The fruit profile here is the brightest and freshest of the range. "...dark red colour; the bouquet sits quietly, has a firm couch of blackberry fruit, sweetness that leans towards prune, with a discreet note of raspberry. The palate is lucid from the start, flows with elegant purpose, is continuous and stylish, the tannins barely noticeable. This is a precise, well-tuned Châteauneuf, still a touch skeletal, but one with lovely potential, that can furnish out further with time. There is smoke, and a hint of pine from the oak late on. From 2025, decant it, drink until 2046-48." drinkrhone.com
100% Grenache (75 to 95 year-old vines) from yellow sand with a little clay on 1.7 hectares on Guigasse in the northeast of CDP near Pignan. Organic farming and old-school winemaking with 2-3 week whole bunch concrete vat vinification, natural yeasts only, minimal extraction, aged in 4-10 year-old 600-litre oak casks for 24 months, bottled unfined, unfiltered. "...full, dark robe; the bouquet carries weighted sweetness, a dense aroma of cooked black fruits, a blackberry jam resemblance. The palate is also ample, immediate on its fat roll of mulberry, large red berry fruited content, with flexible tannins adding a layer late on, the aftertaste gourmand, lip smacking. This reflects the sunny clime of the year more than the other two St Théodoric 2019s. The flavour is deeply set, persistent here, a real basket of abundance, mixed berries. It’s assertive, but just avoids over concentration, a line of menthol near the close helpful, with oak in the game there. From 2024, decant it, until 2044-46" drinkrhone.com
2019 is a great vintage for the beautiful Ferrand Cuvée Antique - 90% Grenache from 85 year-old vines just outside Chateauneuf-du-Pape, with 5% Syrah, 2% Cinsault, 2% Mourvèdre, 1% Grenache blanc, Clairette blanche. From DrinkRhone: "dark red; the bouquet has a deep setting of plum fruit with a crushed nutshell air above, is locked up, plenty of potential on board to expand and diversify. The attack is well sturdy, agreeably thorough, covers the ground well, sustaining into a lingering close, the juice lasting well. The Grenache plum fruit has verve and a fluid intensity, does a really good job, while the tannins are fresh, too." This drinks like good CDP but at half the price, enjoy over the next ten to fifteen years.
From 50-65% Grenache, 15-20% Syrah, 0-10% Carignan, 5-15% Mourvèdre from stony clay-limestone soils on Bois Lauzon & Coudoulet at Courthézon. The vines are on average 45 years old. The wine ages in concrete tank and old barrels, and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is an outstanding Côtes-du-Rhône Villages that shows "a bold, dark red, crimson-hued robe. Has a broad, panoramic bouquet, as usual well filled, really deeply set. Black cherry and licorice feature, a hint of fried herbs, thyme. This is a strong, mini-Châteauneuf-du-Pape red wine: it’s closely packed with grounded life force content, strengthening as it goes, ending in a charged manner. The juice is pretty pure within its cladding, its woven overcoat. It’s a big vintage wine, has local character with a strong sense of place, stone strewn vineyards, terroir in the glass. It goes well long. Take your time – very much so – drink from 2019 until 2028-30" (drinkrhone)