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We're very happy to offer another group of wines from the superb 2016 vintage in Châteauneuf-du-Pape!
The wines of Laurent Charvin have always been among our very favorites at Chambers Street. The estate has always worked well in the vines and is now certified organic; fermentations are with whole clusters and aging is in concrete vats, making this a very traditional style of Châteauneuf. The cépages are 85% Grenache, 5% Mourvèdre, 5% Vaccarèse, 5% Syrah, in soils of sand, clay/limestone and "galets roulets" terroirs. We have always enjoyed the complex, pretty aromatics and silky texture of Charvin's wine and our brief taste of the 2016 confirmed that this is a great vintage for this classic Chateauneuf. We also heartily recommend the 2016 Côtes-du-Rhône "Le Poutet" which is a great success in 2016 and a sensational value.
Philippe Bravay at Domaine de Ferrand is another grower who produces an outstanding traditional Châteauneuf from his 7.5 hectares of very old vines in the northern sector on sandy and galets roulets soils. Primarily Grenache, with small amounts of Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvedre and Bourboulenc. Farming here has always been with organic methods, though not certified, and vinification and aging is in concrete vats. There is a touch of modernity here, as the grapes are mostly de-stemmed, giving a slightly more forward, supple style of wine. We appreciate very much M. Bravay's attitude towards preservatives, as there is no racking or blending of the wine and minimal sulfur-dioxide is used. The 2016 will drink beautifully within a few years and is a prime candidate for cellaring until 2040
From my earliest involvement with Chateauneuf-du-Pape, going back to the 1980's, I had always preferred the wines of Pierre Usseglio to those of his brother Raymond. Recently, however, Raymond's son Stéphane has converted the estate to organic and Biodynamic farming and has gone back to aging in cement vats bringing a new level of complexity and authenticity to the wines. We are very happy to offer the outanding 2016s from Raymond Usseglio - the "Cuvée Girard" from vines averaging 80 years of age, and the "Cuvée Impériale" from vines planted in 1902, which is certainly one of the top wines of the vintage - along with a small quantitiy of the excellent 2013 Cuvée Impériale as well.
Along with the 2013 Usseglio "Cuvée Imperiale" which will drink beautifully this fall, we are offering one of our favorite Châteauneufs for current drinking, the 2012 Chapelle St. Theodoric "Grand Pin." This elegant wine 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 absolutely delicious. It's a great choice for Thanksgiving, as is the 2014 Chapelle St. Theodoric "Les Sablons" which is available in half-bottles for only $21.99!
All wines are in stock as of Thursday, November 1st and normal 10% case or mixed case discounts apply. David Lillie
Rhône Dinner at Racines NY Wednesday, Nov 14th: Please join us at Racines on the 14th as Chef-in-Residence Paul Liebrandt (Two Michelin Stars, Corton) creates a superb dinner echoing the cuisine of the Rhône Valley with wines chosen by Racines' sommelier Pascaline Lepeltier, MS and proprietor Arnaud Tronche, featuring wines from Domaine Pierre Gonon and many more, current releases and back vintages. Please email Racines at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and reservations.
(90% Grenache averaging 75 years of age, with 10% Syrah, Mourvèdre, Bourboulenc, from sandy and galet stone soils) "...dark red colour. The nose leads with a stylish aroma of blackberry, mixed in with dried herbes de Provence, a note of rose petal, licorice. It will open and vary well. The fruit swishes around the palate well, has a blueberry-blackberry axis, with good, ripe, live tannins wrapped around it. This is a really genuine Châteauneuf with good heart and serious length, a proper from the ground up wine with some delicate aromatics involved." drinkrhone
90% Grenache, 4% Mourvèdre, 4% Syrah, 2% Cinsault and 2% Counoise, averaging 80 years of age. "...good shine in the dark red robe. The bouquet is well rounded, has a plump heart of plums, hints of raspberry. It gives a picture of the sunny south, with restraint. The palate is expressive, offers good Grenache plum fruits with savoury tannins that wrap around it very well. There are some delicious moments. The finish is fresh, with a pocket of spice and pebbly feel from the refined tannins. This is genuine, true, STGT (Soil To Glass Transfer i.e. authentic wine of terroir), highly enjoyable Châteauneuf, represents its origins well." drinkrhone
(90-95% Grenache planted in 1901-02, from sandy soils on Les Pialons, La Girardette, 10% Counoise, Cinsault, Terret Noir, Clairette, 40% destemmed, aged in concrete vats) The 2013 Imperiale is a deep and impressive old vine Chateauneuf - starting with pretty red fruit aromas that segue into plum and black cherry, with licorice, meat and garrigue. The palate is dense and deep, balanced with firm acidity, showing ripe red currant and blackberry liqueur, earth, licorice, olive and spice that continue on the very persistent finish. This really shows the old vines, has great old-fashioned style - drink this now with a steak or daube niçoise, or cellar another ten to fifteen years. David Lillie
From drinkrhone: "dark robe – dark red with some black tints. Dusty trails, herbes de Provence mix on the nose, spice and cooked plums – it’s a Grenache-inspired bouquet; raspberry and mulberry feature well also. The palate runs with fluid content, and some iron in the tannins; it’s thorough and persistent, has more structure than most Côtes du Rhône reds. It finishes on a good charge, momentum. Loganberry, dark fruits lie at its heart. The aftertaste is fresh, has good mini-crunch. The cool threads on the palate are most engaging, and I love its genuine length."
Our quick drop of the Charvin 2016 at the importers tasting left us convinced that this is a superb, elegant, old-school Chateauneuf that is worth having in your cellar. We quote the reliable, somewhat English notes of our friend John Livingston-Learmonth on his wonderful website, drinkrhone: "deep, dark red colour. The bouquet packs in a variety of upbeat influences – massed herbs including sage, laurel, with cooked Damson plums from the Grenache, spice and oiliness. The palate is extremely coherent, a really good whole, full of heart and genuine, from the vineyard density. The flavour rests on spiced plum fruits for now, with tea, black olives notes towards the wide and long finish. The tannins have spark, a rockiness that gives the wine a leg of momentum as it ends. This is very good. It can become a major Châteauneuf-du-Pape, with definite individuality and complexity."
(90-95% Grenache planted in 1901-02, from sandy soils on Les Pialons, La Girardette, 10% Counoise, Cinsault, Terret Noir, Clairette, 40% destemmed, aged in concrete vats) "...full red robe. The bouquet lies in wait thanks to the pedigree and natural thickness of the black fruits from the old Grenache vines, has an established oiliness from them, and shows cool sides outside them. Prune, a touch of leather feature. The palate is rich and rolling with a gentle wave of spherical content and luxurious, natural tannins that lead into a black olives, lightly salted finish. This is unhurried wine, with great ageing potential, and, mercifully, no headiness. The layers of fruit and content are impressive. From 2022, so there can be an extra level of variety and stimulation. I can wish for no more from this great Châteauneuf." drinkrhone (Rated by drinkrhone in the same group with Rayas, Marcoux VV and Beaucastel J Perrin)
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 - this will drink well until 2030. Three cheers to Peter Weygandt and Baptiste Grangeon for producing this lovely old-school Châteaneuf-du-Pape!