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We were very excited a few years ago to discover some beautiful Chateauneuf-du-Papes at a tasting of wines imported by our old friend Peter Weygandt. The wines were aromatically complex and lovely, and were not heavy or over-extracted. There was fabulous density and length on the palate but with lightness and elegance in a Burgundan style - truly extraordinary and unusual! These have become our favorite Chateauneuf-du-Papes (along with Pierre André and Eric Texier!) - the estate is called Chapelle Saint-Theodoric, a project by Mr. Weygandt with winemaker Baptiste Grangeon. 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. In 2015, these two cuvées are simply outstanding and are on everyone's list of the finest Chateauneuf-du-Papes of this excellent vintage. We are also offering the 2012 and 2013 "Le Grand Pin" which are beautiful wines as well if from less exalted vintages - the 2012 showing great intensity in a lighter, elegant frame and the 2013 in the same style with a bit more weight and concentration. In 2014, due to the more forward style of the vintage, all of "La Guigasse" and some of "Le Grand Pin" were bottled as "les Sablons" - this is an oustanding Chateauneuf for early drinking and is available in half-bottles for only $21.99! The 2015 "Le Grand Pin" and "La Guigasse" are very limited in quantity so don't delay in putting away some of these superb wines...
Jacqueline André at Domaine Pierre André has very old vines, averaging 70 years old with some parcels over 130, mostly in Les Gardioles, Les Bédines, L`Etang, Les Saumades, Chapouin, Pignan and Guigasse on a mix of sandy clay and galet stones. The estate has been organic since the 1960s with biodynamic certification in 1992. The grapes are not de-stemmed and elevage is in concrete tanks and old barrels. The Pierre André wines share some characteristics with Chapelle Saint Theodoric, with parcels in Pignan and Guigasse, and whole-cluster fermentations. The long-time biodynamic farming and old vines give this wine a remarkable complexity and depth, with consistent quality in every vintage, making this one of the very greatest Chateauneufs. At the end of last January's tasting with Jacqueline André, she generously poured us a taste of the wonderful 2010 vintage - a wine that approaches perfection, and that will be a superb experience if held for another ten years. Ms. André generously offered us a small allocation - three bottle limit please. The Chateauneuf-du Pape Blanc produced by Jacqueline André is also among the finest of the appellation. Produced from from one hectare of vines - 40% Clairette planted in the 1920s, with 30% Bourboulenc, 20% Roussanne and 10% Grenache Blanc, this is a full-bodied, gorgeous wine to drink now and over the next fifteen years.
The Chapelle St. Theodoric wines arrive April 9, the Pierre André wines arrive April 11th.
The 2015 "La Guigasse" is a beautiful CDP in an old-fashioned style, from a parcel with very old vines on sandy soils next to Pignan. The aromas are very floral and complex with bright cherry and raspberry but with a dark meaty, spicy side as well. This lacks a bit of the finesse of the Grand Pin but has old vine intensity, and will need some time. There are deep berry fruits on the palate, quite dense and with firm tannins, with earthy mineral notes. Terrific length and weight, not as immediately enjoyable as the Grand Pin, but give it 5 years to open, then drink until 2035.
We consider Domaine Pierre André to be one of the greatest estates in Châteuneuf-du-Pape. Organic since 1980 (one of the first in the AOC) and Biodynamic since 1992. The red is 90% Grenache with Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Vacarese, Counoise, Muscadin and Picpoul. Some parcels are over 100 years old, with the average vine age around 65 years. The 2010 is a tighter and more structured wine than the voluptuous 2009, an elegant Chateauneuf-du-Pape that is built to last! Tasted last winter, it showed aromas of ripe blackberry with cherry, spice, rose, earth, tar, smoke and floral notes. Fabulous palate with deep black fruits with spice, garrigue, earth and saline minerals. Terrific length and density, just opening slightly but ideally give this wine at least three more years and enjoy until 2035. Just a great bottle of Châteauneuf, one of our favorites from this great vintage! Highly recommended. David Lillie
Jacqueline André makes this superb white Chateauneuf-du-Pape from one hectare of vines - 40% Clairette planted in the 1920s, with 30% Bourboulenc, 20% Roussanne and 10% Grenache Blanc. Biodynamic farming, aged in vat, malo blocked. Fabulous aromas of pear and green apple with lemon blossom, stone and dried fruits. Very saline and mineral on the palate with intense flavors of dried pear, apple, hazelnut, anise and stone. very dense and long with firm acidity and mineral flavors in the finish. Terrific wine - delicious now with fish or chicken in sauce and full flavored cheeses, or cellar, perhaps best 2020 to 2030. DL
The 2015 "Le Grand Pin" is one of the great Chateauneufs of the vintage! Every now and then we like to share John Livingstone-Learmonth's reviews in DrinkRhone, very British and always accurate..."bright, clear red, very Grenache. This has an über perfumed, Pinot-esque aroma – it has a real child of the sands purity, is arresting. There is great definition in its red fruit, raspberry. This is exciting: it’s a complete symphony on its own. The palate bears stylish red fruits with a silken bearing. This is ACE. It has a most beguiling nature – back I go to the 1960s Châteauneufs of my youth. It has a most belle spherical harmony, beautiful detail, and wholesome, fine juice – way to go wine, where Châteauneuf should be once more after the lost years. Pinot meets Grenache here; it is exceptional, has a total harmony." This will cellar beautifully, perhaps best 2025 to 2035+
Chapelle Saint-Theodoric is a joint venture between the Grangeon family of Domaine de Cristia and their USA importer Peter Weygandt. Le Grand Pin is all old-vine Grenache from a parcel in the Pignan vineyard on sandy soils. Whole-cluster fermentation in concrete vat with wild yeasts, minimal extraction, aged in 4 to 10 year-old large casks. A bit fuller-bodied than the lovely 2012 Grand Pin, the 2013 still shows great elegance and Burgundian finesse in a delightfully old-fashioned style. The color is a clear medium-red with bright aromas of ripe raspberry, elegant and pure with darker fruit, violet and hints of roast meat with aeration. On the palate there is ripe fruit liqueur, sappy and bright with earth and mineral notes, garrigue and firm citrusy acids. Terrrific length with dense red fruits and mineral flavors that persist. Drink now for it's youthful elegance, preferably with a long decant or opening the night before - best to hold 5 to 8 years then drink until 2030 - 2035. David Lillie
Chapelle Saint-Theodoric is a joint venture between the Grangeon family of Domaine de Cristia and their USA importer Peter Weygandt. Le Grand Pin is all Grenache from the Pignan vineyard on sandy soils. Whole-cluster fermentation in concrete vat with wild yeasts, minimal extraction, aged in 4 to 10 year-old large casks. This is a beautiful old-fashioned Chateauneuf that is all finesse and beauty, very Burgundian in style and absoulutely delicious. The wine shows elegant aromas of black cherry, raspberry, violet, roast meat, graphite, citrus and Provencal garrigue, quite complex. There is intense sappy fruit on the palate with elegant cherry, raspberry, dark chocolate and earth. Very long, dense and ripe but balanced and bright, not at all heavy or over-extracted. The finish is lovely with sappy fruit and mineral flavors lingering on the palate. Delicious as a young wine, this should cellar beautifully, best perhaps 2023 - 2030. DL
In the 2014 vintage, it was decided to put all of the La Guigasse and some of the Grand Pin into Les Sablons, because of the more forward style of 2014." The 2014 "Les Sablons" is indeed a very lovely Châteauneuf, showing beautiful ripe red currant and black cherry aromas with hints of brown spice, rose, earth and musk. The palate is light and fine but very dense with sappy red fruits, citrus, earth and mineral flavors with hints of licorice and prune. The finish is long and lingering, with firm acidity showing good aging potential. Elegant and delicious now - serve slightly cool - perhaps best 2020 to 2030. Three cheers to Peter Weygandt and Baptiste Grangeon for producing this lovely old-school Châteaneuf-du-Pape!