Vines at Domaine de Marcoux.

2015 Chateauneuf-du-Pape: An Excellent Vintage! Charvin, Ferrand, Marcoux, Clos des Papes, Boislauzon & Beaucastel (with a Few Favorites from 2013 and 2014)!

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Our tastings in the Rhône Valley last winter revealed a vintage with excellent concentration and depth, with varying degrees of freshness and balance depending on rain that was needed during the dry conditions of the late summer. In the Southern Rhône, in particular, many vignerons reported receiving adequate rain in June and then just enough in July and August to produce balanced wines, and as usual we noted that those estates in organic or biodynamic farming were most successful. We remember the 2010s being more built for aging but there's no doubt that the 2015s are generally beautiful wines for youthful drinking and medium-term aging. Our favorite Rhône writer, John Livingston-Learmonth offered this rather British assessment, "the leading 2015s hold very well juiced fruit and supple, prolonged tannins, with discreet saline touches extending the length. One 2015 signature is the length and fullness of the wines - they are really prolonged, and travel with gusto in the leading cases as they finish. Another is the salted thread that helps their balance and freshness." The 2015 Châteauneuf-du-Papes are now becoming available and we offer some of our favorite new releases and also some standouts from 2013 and 2014.

Jacqueline André with old vines.

First, 2013s from two of the very greatest producers of Chateuaneuf-du-Pape, both in biodynamic agriculture: 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. Our tasting with Jacqueline last winter revealed a beautifully lush and bright 2015 (not yet released), a seemingly perfect 2010 and a superb 2013 that is just arriving in NY. The Pierre André 2013 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge was remarkably pretty, both aromaticlly and on the palate, and was also dense, well-structured and complex - it's lovely to drink now but will age beautifully as well. The Armenier family at Domaine de Marcoux needs no introduction to lovers of Châteauneuf-du-Pape - biodynamic since 1991, their Cuvée Vieilles Vignes is often considered to be the finest wine of the appellation. The old vines were included in the 2013 Marcoux Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge making this cuvée an oustanding value, a true wine of terroir to drink now or cellar until 2030.

2014 was a difficult year in the vines, with a very wet July and late ripening, giving wines with lower alcohol and a slighter more Burgundian character, which was appreciated by many consumers. The area around Pignan, with sandy soils, fared better than most regions of Châteauneuf, and here the Chapelle St. Theodoric, a collaboration between winemaker Baptiste Grangeon and importer Peter Weygandt, produced a sensational 2014 "Les Sablons"  which contains grapes from the "Grand Pins" and "Guigasse" parcels, normally bottled separately in the prestige cuvées. We love this wine, which shows 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. It's just delicious and a great value!

Our first arrivals from 2015 include six organic or biodynamic estates, certainly among the finest and most famous of the appellation, that made particularly outstanding wines in this vintage. Located in the northwest part of the appellation, with vines chiefly in Cabrieres, Maucoil, and Mont Redon, Laurent Charvin at Domaine Charvin makes only one cuvée from his 9 hectares in organic agriculture, with a mix of sand, clay-limestone and galet stone soils. Depending on the crop variation each vintage, the blend is roughly 85% Grenache, 5% Mourvedre, 5% Vaccarèse and 5% Syrah, averaging about 50 years old. The winemaking here is staunchly traditional, with no de-stemming and fermentation and aging occurring all in concrete tanks for 21 months, bottled unfiltered. The 2015 Domaine Charvin shows the lush fruit of the vintage with lovely freshness and firm structure - one of their best vintages ever, says our friend Josh Raynolds at Vinous. Inexplicably, it's on sale at $52.99 with a further 10% off on a case or mixed-case purchase!

Mas de Boislauzon is a lesser-known over-achieving estate located in the northern sector of Chateauneuf, with parcels in the lieu-dits of Cabrières, Boislauzon, Lagardiole, Palestor and Pignan. The soil types are sandy at Pignan, galets roulés at Boislauzon, with more clay at la Gardiole et Palestor. Although they had always farmed well, the estate began organic certification in 2009. Here the grapes are de-stemmed and aging is in concrete vats and old barrels. The 2015 Mas de Boislauzon is a great success, a complex, dark and full fruited wine that remains a traditional wine of terroir that will drink well now, with decanting, and will age beautifully for fifteen to twenty years. This is certainly one of the best values from the Southern Rhône in 2015!

Also from the northern sector of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Philippe Bravay's Domaine Ferrand comes half from 45 year-old vines in the La Gardiale and Cabrieres vineyards, and the other half from vines planted in 1904, 1910 and 1920 in the La Guariguette and Les Jaumes vineyards. Harvesting is by hand, with a selection on the sorting table and de-stemming done more or less depending on the vintage. No acidification, no sulfites. Aged in concrete vats and stainless steel tanks.  The 2015 Domaine Ferrand shows a pretty red/garnet color, not too dark, with aromas of mingled black and red fruits, a bit less "sweet" than the Charvin, with hints of violet and garrigue, a bit of pepper, quite pretty.  The palate shows lovely ripeness and density with black cherry, bright plum and raspberry, lifted by firm acidity and citrus flavors.   Also on sale, at $44.99 per bottle, less 10% on a case or mixed-case!

The 2015 Domaine de Marcoux is a lovely wine, from more than 20 different parcels predominantly in the southern part of the appellation. The wine shows a bit more structure and tannin than the other 2015s in todays email - decant well in advance if drinking now or hold until 2020 then enjoy until 2035.

After the phylloxera epidemic in the late 19th century, the vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape were largely replanted with Grenache on American root-stocks. In 1914, Jacques Perrin, seeking to re-establish Mourvedre which had been widely grown in the region, obtained cuttings from Domaine Tempier in Bandol and was eventually able to find a root-stock compatible with Mourvedre. Château de Beaucastel remains one of the few Châteauneuf estates with a high percentage of Mourvedre, the current blend being 30% Mourvedre and 30% Grenache, with Syrah, Cinsault, Counoise and all other permitted varieties. The estate has been organic since the 1950s and biodynamic since 1979. The 2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a superb wine that will drink beautifully over the next 20 to 25 years, showing a solid red/black color and aromas of chalky blackberry, plum and red currant. The palate is lush and full with intriguing black fruit, earth, garrigue and mineral flavors which should delvelop nicely with time.

Our visits to Paul Avril's Clos des Papes in the early 90s left us with a great appreciation for the estate, which also includes a high proportion of Mourvedre in their red, currently about 55% Grenache, 25 - 30% Mourvedre and 10% Syrah with Counoise, Muscardin and Vaccarese. There is only one cuvée here, always among the most dense and concentrated of Chateauneufs, largely due to extremely low yields, usually around 20 hl/ha. We're happy to note that Paul-Vincent Avril converted this important estate to organic farming, certified in 2011. The grapes are de-stemmed and the wine is aged in a mix of cement vats and large barrels, giving a traditional, rather full-bodied Châteauneuf that is one of the most highly-regarded in the appellation. The 2015 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge is dense, comlplex and long and should age beautifully for 25 to 30 years.

We're very excited by these wines, many of which will provide great enjoyment during your fall and winter meals, and all of which will cellar beautifully!  NOTE: Wines are in stock or will arrive by Tues 11/21, except the 2015 Beaucastel which has been delayed until mid-December - please order separately.

Philippe Bravay of Domaine Ferrand with old vines in winter.

 

Pierre Andre 2013 Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Jacqueline André made another superb Châteauneuf-du-Pape in 2013,  more enjoyable as a young wine than the firmer-structured 2010, but the wine will age beautifully as well. The aromas are typically ripe and complex, showing berry liqueur, smoke, garrigue, cassis, earth and stone. The palate shows deep, round black fruits, earth, tobacco, spice and citrus notes with tannins that are firm and round. This is a lovely CDP to drink now, with aeration, that shows the great farming and traditional winemaking of the André family and is highly recommended.  Hold for ten to twenty years for a mature experience. (Organic since 1980 (one of the first in the AOC) and Biodynamic since 1992. The blend 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.) Highly recommended.  David Lillie

  • red
  • 33 in stock
  • $51.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur
  • red
  • 2 in stock
  • $124.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Pierre Andre 2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc

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

  • white
  • 14 in stock
  • $57.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic

Marcoux 2013 Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge

Domaine de Marcoux farms about 18 ha in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. There is a wide range of soil types from sandy soils in Charbonnières, to red clay and galets in L’Arnesque and Les Bouquets, to limestone and marl in Les Esquirons and Beaurenard, to red clay and gravel in Gallimardes, Les Serres and Les Plagnes. They grow mainly Grenache, with an average vine age of 50 years old, with smaller amounts of Mourvedre, Syrah, and Cinsault. There is a four week wild-yeast vinification with minimal extraction followed by aging in cement vats and large barrels. Yields were low in 2013, especially for Grenache, so this "regular" cuvée contains all the Vieilles Vignes juice, making this one of the better Châteauneufs of 2013. The wine shows a deep red/black color, with blackberry liqueur and black cherry aromas with earth, tar, garrigue and rose. The palate is quite round and ripe but well-structured and backed with firm acidity, showing black fruits with a mineral edge, black pepper, citrus and earth, finishing with slightly bitter red fruits and saline acidity.  This is a real wine of terroir that shows the old vines, with nice grip and density. Certainly enjoyable now but best to hold five years then enjoy until 2030+.  David Lillie

  • red
  • 2 in stock
  • no discount
  • $59.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Mas de Boislauzon 2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Tradition

Mas de Boislauzon is a lesser-known, over-achieving estate located in the northern sector of Châteauneuf, with parcels in the lieu-dits of Cabrières, Boislauzon, Lagardiole, Palestor and Pignan. The soil types are sandy at Pignan, galets roulés at Boislauzon, with more clay at la Gardiole and Palestor. Organic farming since 2009. Approximately 70% Grenache and 30% Mourvedre. The grapes are de-stemmed and aging is in concrete vats and old barrels. The 2015 is a full-throttle, dark colored wine with deep blackberry liqueur, dark plum, earth and roast meat aromas. The palate is very dense and supple with ripe sweet blackberry and red currant fruit, well structured and lifted by cool acidity and firm tannins. Enjoy in its rather intense youth with a steak or grilled lamb or hold for ten to fifteen years. Terrific wine and a great value!  David Lillie

  • red
  • 1 in stock
  • $37.99

  • Organic

Ferrand 2015 Chateauneuf-du-Pape

87-95% Grenache, 5-13% Syrah, Mourvèdre, Bourboulenc, Cinsault from sandy soils with some galet stones, hand harvested, 90% de-stemmed, from 45 year-old vines in the La Gardiale and Cabrieres vineyards, and the other half from vines planted in 1904, 1910 and 1920 in the La Guariguette and Les Jaumes vineyards. Harvested by hand, selection on the sorting table with de-stemming done more or less depending on the vintage. No acidification, no sulfites. Aged in concrete vats and stainless steel tanks.  The 2015 shows a pretty red/garnet color, not too dark, with aromas of mingled black and red fruits, a bit less "sweet" than the Charvin, with hints of violet and garrigue, a bit of pepper, quite pretty. The palate shows lovely ripeness and density with black cherry, bright plum and raspberry, lifted by firm acidity and citrus flavors. The finish is quite long and sapid, with lingering red fruits and mineral flavors, showing the alcohol a bit (15%). This is a lovely example of the 2015 vintage, certainly fun to drink now, best to wait a few years and drink until 2030-2035.  David Lillie

  • red
  • 7 in stock
  • $48.99

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur

Marcoux 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge

Domaine de Marcoux farms about 18 ha in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. There is a wide range of soil types from sandy soils in Charbonnières, to red clay and galets in L’Arnesque and Les Bouquets, to limestone and marl in Les Esquirons and Beaurenard, to red clay and gravel in Gallimardes, Les Serres and Les Plagnes. They grow mainly Grenache, with an average vine age of 50 years old, with smaller amounts of Mourvedre, Syrah, and Cinsault. There is a four week wild-yeast vinification with minimal extraction followed by aging in cement vats and large barrels. The 2015 Marcoux shows a dense garnet/black color with meaty blackberry and black cherry liqueur with floral, spice and pepper. The palate is dense and sappy, quite supple and ripe with bright red currant and berry fruit that is lifted by firm acidity and that continues in the long well structured finish. As with all the 2015 Châteauneufs, the lovely fruit makes this delicious now, but three to five years of aging will really open the wine which should drink well for 15 to 20 years. This is a wine with great character and authenticity, well done Domaine de Marcoux!  David Lillie

  • red
  • 6 in stock
  • $58.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur
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Pierre André 2010 Châteauneuf-du-Pape

 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 spice, 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 five more years and enjoy until 2035. Just a great bottle of Châteauneuf,  one of our favorites from this great vintage!  Highly recommended.  David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $64.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic

Chapelle St. Theodoric 2014 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Sablons

I don't normally think of Chateauneuf-du-Pape on Thanksgiving, but this elegant, relatively light-bodied version would be a brilliant choice for your hoilday meal.   "Chapelle St. Theodoric is a project between winemaker Baptiste Grangeon and importer Peter Weygandt.  There are 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 year; and the other parcel at the top of Pignan, literally adjoining the vines of Chateau Rayas, also in pure sand and also pure, old vines Grenache. The vinification is traditional, that is to say, whole-cluster, such as employed  by Jacques Reynaud at Chateau Rayas, Laurent Charvin, Henri Bonneau. 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." - Weygandt-Metzler.  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!

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $37.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Charvin 2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape

The 2015 Charvin is indeed a beautiful Chateauneuf that shows a bright red/garnet color with very floral and sweet aromas of crushed raspberry and strawberry with a bit of tart plum, quite pure and pretty with hints of blackberry, brown spice, earth and roast meat emerging with aeration. The palate is dense and sapid but beautifully balanced with sweet raspberry and black cherry fruit with game, spice, earth, tea and citrus. The finish is firm and long with dense red currant fruit, spicy citrus and earthy flavors that linger on the palate. This is a lovely Châteauneuf-du-Pape that can be enjoyed immensely now, best to hold about 5 years then drink until 2032 - 2035.  David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $57.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Beaucastel 2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Arrives 12/15

Château de Beaucastel remains one of the few Châteauneuf estates with a high percentage of Mourvedre, the current blend being 30% Mourvedre and 30% Grenache, with Syrah, Cinsault, Counoise and all other permitted varieties. The estate has been organic since the 1950s and biodynamic since 1979. The 2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a lovely wine that will drink beautifully over the next 20 to 25 years, showing a solid red/black color and aromas of chalky blackberry, plum and red currant. The palate is lush and full with intriguing black fruit, earth, garrigue and mineral flavors which should develop nicely over the years, and is lifted by cool, earthy acidity with hints of game and citrus. Superb wine. (Note: Those who have tasted the 2016 Beaucastel report that it's a dense and sappy wine, perhaps more built for long-term aging, while the 2015 may be more enjoyable while relatively young.)

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $73.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Clos des Papes 2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape

55% Grenache, 25 - 30% Mourvedre and 10% Syrah with Counoise, Muscardin and Vaccarese. There is only one cuvée here, always among the most dense and concentrated of Châteauneufs, largely due to extremely low yields, usually around 20 hl/ha. We're happy to note that Paul-Vincent Avril converted this important estate to organic farming, certified in 2011. The grapes are de-stemmed and the wine is aged in a mix of cement vats and large barrels, giving a traditional, rather full-bodied Châteauneuf that is one of the most highly-regarded in the appellation. The 2015 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge is dense, complex and long and should age beautifully for 25 to 30 years.

  • Out of Stock
  • Inactive
  • 0 in stock
  • $94.99

  • Organic