jeb Dunnuck’s Guide to the Best of 2014
Best of 2014 Current Releases
The Best of Languedoc & Roussillon
2011 Chateau Puech-Haut Saint Drézéry Quercus $60.00 Rating: 97
Lastly, one of the highlight tastings I did during my stint in the Languedoc earlier this year was at Puech Haut, which is located in the eastern/middle portion of the appellation, near the village of Saint Drézéry. While all of their cuvees were superb, the 2011 Quercus (100% Grenache) stood out for its incredible aromatics and blockbuster texture. It will stand side by side to the some of the greatest southern Rhônes out there with no problem. These are all made with the help of consultant Philippe Cambie, and while most top Châteauneuf du Papes are selling north of 100 bucks these days, these still represents value.
The Best of Châteauneuf du Pape
2012 Clos Saint Jean Châteauneuf du Pape Sanctus Sanctorum $625 Rating: 99
From a tiny plot of ancient Grenache vines located in pebbly soils of the la Crau lieu-dit, the Maurel Brothers of Vincent and Pascal, with the help of Philippe Cambie, produce one of the greatest Châteauneuf du Papes out there. Unfortunately, it’s made in tiny quantities (and bottled only in magnum).
2012 Les Bosquet des Papes Châteauneuf du Pape Gloire de Mon Grand-Père $50 Rating: 97
As I said in Issue 215, I don’t think any estate has made more qualitative gains in the past 3-4 years than Les Bosquet des Papes. Made by Nicolas Boiron, with the help of Philippe Cambie, all of this estate’s 2012s are superb, and come close to what was achieved in 2010. The Châteauneuf du Pape Gloire de Mon Grand-Père comes all from Grenache vines planted in sandy soils and was aged in a combination of concrete tank and older barrels before being bottled. It’s a thrilling 2012 that checks in near the top of the vintage.
My Three Greatest Wine Drinking Experiences of 2014
2007 Clos Saint Jean Châteauneuf du Pape Sanctus Sanctorum $750 Rating: 100
I was lucky enough to have this wine numerous time this year, and it’s always been an eyes roll back in the head experience. This is Grenache at its finest!
France, Rhone: Domaine Giraud Marie and François Giraud One of my favorite estates in the Southern Rhône, Domaine Giraud is run by the brother/sister pair Marie and François Giraud, with Marie making the wines and François managing the vineyards. Created in 1974 by Pierre and Mireille Giraud, it wasn’t until 1998 that they bottled their first release (both a traditional Châteauneuf and a Cuvée Les Gallimardes). While some estates have a difficult transition from generation to generation, in this case, Pierre let Marie make the wines in 2001, and after tasting the results, quickly gave her full rein. In addition, Philippe Cambie lends his consulting advice here. The style certainly leans toward the hedonistic end of the spectrum, but the wines always have beautiful purity and classy, balanced profiles. For this tasting, we started with their Les Gallimardes cuvée and finished with the Les Grenache de Pierre. I’ve listed the wines in the order tasted. In addition to superb reds, they made a rock-solid white. Starting with the Les Gallimardes cuvée, this bottling comes all from the Les Galimardes lieu-dit that’s located in the southern, warmer portion of the appellation. The soils here are mostly rolled pebbles, and the vines are over 100 years in age. The wine is almost all Grenache (roughly 10% Syrah), completely destemmed (as of 1999) and has the Grenache aged all in tank and the Syrah all in smaller barrels. It’s always a rich, sexy and full-throttle effort, yet to me, it offers thrilling Châteauneuf du Pape character and is easily one of my favorite wines. Compared to the Les Grenache de Pierre release, the Les Gallimardes is more exuberant, overflowing and hedonistic. In addition, they implemented a stricter selection for this cuvée in 2005 and moved to using only their older vines. I think it shows, as current releases have additional depth, concentration and purity. Leading off and just reviewed last year (I’m always happy to retaste), the 2011 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Les Gallimardes is gorgeous in the vintage and has a sexy, perfumed and hedonistic style. Loaded with black raspberry, cassis, and creamy licorice, along with background garrigue and lavender, it is full-bodied, up-front and packed with fruit. It’s a total charmer to drink in its first 10-12 years of life. Deeper, richer, more concentrated, and shockingly good, Giraud’s 2010 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Les Gallimardes is an incredible expression of Grenache from the southern part of the appellation. Loaded with ripe black raspberry, cassis, licorice, roasted herbs and crushed rock-like characteristic, it has awesome richness, thrilling purity and sweet tannin that emerges on the finish. A stunning success that should not be missed, it will drink well for 15-20 years. As is common, the 2009 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Les Gallimardes has a lot in common with the 2011, yet has more depth and concentration. Kirsch, blackberry, roasted herbs, licorice and garrigue all make up this classic, rich, full-bodied and hedonistic beauty. It will drink well for another decade. The 2007 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Les Gallimardes is another full-bodied, hedonistic and decadent effort from this brother/sister pair. Incense, lavender, licorice and sweet kirsch and blackberry-styled fruits give way to a full-bodied, deeply concentrated, layered, and yet still graceful profile on the palate. While it’s superb now, its stacked mid-palate and sweet tannin on the finish all say it will continue to evolve gracefully. More classic in style, the 2006 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Les Gallimardes is drinking nicely today, as are most of the wines from this vintage. Showing textbook earthy herbs, leather, cured meats, spice and assorted sweet red and black fruits, it’s full-bodied, nicely concentrated, and has good underlying structure. It will continue to drink nicely for another decade. These 2006s continue to impress and this one is no exception. Coming from a more hyped year,
Marie and François’ 2005 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Les Gallimardes shows the structured, angular nature of the vintage nicely. Possessing a deep, concentrated and rich feel, with black licorice, charcoal, roasted meat and darker fruits, it has stunning purity, full-bodied richness and notable underlying structure. Opening up nicely in the glass, it has more than enough fruit to keep it enjoyable today, but has at least another decade of prime drinking. The first year for the new label, the 2004 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Les Gallimardes is an outstanding effort that has a classic, mature feel. Garrigue, spiced berry fruits, dried flowers and subtle minerality all emerge from the glass and it has medium to full-bodied richness, plenty of fruit and a great finish. It has more fruit and richness than most wines in the vintage, and is drinking great today. Enjoy it over the coming couple of years. Three years older, but tasting younger, the 2001 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Les Gallimardes has a layered, elegant and textured profile that’s hard to resist. Full-bodied, concentrated and evolving gracefully, with plenty of roasted herbs, meat juice, licorice and sweet black fruits, it’s at full maturity, but has plenty of life left. Made by Marie and François’ father, the 2000 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Les Gallimardes is showing its age, but still offers a mouthful of fruit and a delicious, mature drinking experience. Giving up plenty of garrigue, toasted nut, dried flowers and evolved fruits, it has full-bodied richness on the palate, loads of sweet fruit and a clean finish. Drink it over the coming couple of years. The first vintage to see 100% destemming, the 1999 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Les Gallimardes has a more serious feel than the 2000, and offers a meaty, bloody bouquet of iron, garrigue and leather. While a mature Châteauneuf, it has a youthful feel in its full-bodied, nicely concentrated and classically structured style. Drink it anytime over the coming 3-4 years. Lastly, and the first vintage for the cuvée, the 1998 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Les Gallimardes is fully mature and evolved, with notions of saddle leather, garrigue, dried herbs and toasted nuts flowing nicely to a medium-bodied, supple, elegant feel on the palate. It’s a classy Châteauneuf that needs to be drunk up. Moving to their Grenaches de Pierre releases, this cuvée comes from 100-year-old vines planted in the sandy soils of the La Crau and Pignan lieux-dits. It’s made from 100% Grenache and aged almost completely in concrete tank. It’s always slightly more polished than the Les Gallimardes release and has beautiful complexity and purity, while not skimping on the textured or depth of fruit that’s present in all of Marie’s wines. Starting with the 2011 Châteauneuf du Pape les Grenaches de Pierre, it offers the sexy, forward style of the vintage, yet backs it up with beautiful purity, terrific concentration and ample sweet tannin. Showing plenty of black raspberry, cassis and licorice along with loads of ProvenÃ§al herbs and flowers, it’s hard to resist now, but will continue to shine through 2026. On another level, the 2010 Châteauneuf du Pape les Grenaches de Pierre is one of the stars of the vintage (and a wine I’ve rated 100 points on more than one occasion). Stunningly beautiful on all accounts, it boasts off-the-charts richness and depth to go with incredible aromas and flavors of black raspberry, cassis, crushed flowers, licorice and sappy garrigue. It has superb concentration, a stacked mid-palate and layers of sweet tannin that emerge on the finish. Like all of Marie’s wines, it has the purity and texture to drink nicely on release, yet the backend depth and structure to evolve gracefully. It’s an incredible example of old vine Grenache that should not be missed! Another wine that’s a star in the vintage, the 2008 Châteauneuf du Pape les Grenaches de Pierre (there was no Grenaches de Pierre made in 2009) has a Burgundian style in its sweet kirsch and strawberry-driven bouquet. Showing more white pepper, flowers and spice, it’s an elegant, medium to full-bodied Châteauneuf that has impressive purity, clean acidity and a terrific finish. Already drinking nicely, enjoy it over the coming 4-5 years. Up there with the 2010 and flirting with perfection, the 2007 Châteauneuf du Pape les Grenaches de Pierre is about as incredible an expression of old vine Grenache as you can find. Still deep ruby colored, it offers up an insane bouquet of kirsch, cassis, exotic flowers, pepper, garrigue and licorice that flows seamlessly to a full-bodied, beautifully concentrated, yet layered and elegant profile on the palate. It’s one of those rare wines that carries phenomenal richness, yet never seems heavy, cumbersome or puts a foot wrong. Drink it anytime over the coming decade. More classic in style (and I was blown away by this showing), the 2006 Châteauneuf du Pape les Grenaches de Pierre almost instantly transports you to a bustling street market in one of the many towns spread throughout Provence. Pepper, garrigue, cured meats and beef blood, as well as plenty of sweet fruit, are all present, and this full-bodied ChÃ¢teauneuf has solid concentration, loads of sweet fruit and a big texture. Drinking beautifully now, I’d enjoy bottles over the coming 5-6 years. More masculine in style, the 2005 Châteauneuf du Pape les Grenaches de Pierre is defined by its bright acidity and firm underlying structure. Offering up plenty of earthiness, tar and roasted herb-qualities to go with ample red and blackberry-styled fruit, this age-worthy ChÃ¢teauneuf is full-bodied, structured and firm, with beautiful density of fruit and savory, chewy tannin coming through on the finish. It needs another 1-2 years of bottle age, and will drink nicely through 2025. Lastly, the 2001 Châteauneuf du Pape les Grenaches de Pierre is beautifully mature, with classic pepper, garrigue, loamy earth, leather and spice qualities giving way to a full-bodied, supple and classy mouthfeel. Drinking at point, it’s a knockout effort, but it’s not going to get better from here, so plan on drinking bottles over the coming couple of years.
Domaine Giraud 2011 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Les Gallimardes 94
Domaine Giraud 2010 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Les Gallimardes 98
Domaine Giraud 2009 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Les Gallimardes 95
Domaine Giraud 2007 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Les Gallimardes 96
Domaine Giraud 2006 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Les Gallimardes 94
Domaine Giraud 2005 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Les Gallimardes 94
Domaine Giraud 2004 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Les Gallimardes 91
Domaine Giraud 2001 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Les Gallimardes 94
Domaine Giraud 2000 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Les Gallimardes 90
Domaine Giraud 1999 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Les Gallimardes 91
Domaine Giraud 1998 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Les Gallimardes 89
Domaine Giraud 2011 Châteauneuf du Pape les Grenaches de Pierre 95
Domaine Giraud 2010 Châteauneuf du Pape les Grenaches de Pierre 99
Domaine Giraud 2008 Châteauneuf du Pape les Grenaches de Pierre 92
Domaine Giraud 2007 Châteauneuf du Pape les Grenaches de Pierre 99
Domaine Giraud 2006 Châteauneuf du Pape les Grenaches de Pierre 96
Domaine Giraud 2005 Châteauneuf du Pape les Grenaches de Pierre 94
Domaine Giraud 2001 Châteauneuf du Pape les Grenaches de Pierre 93
Importer: Eric Solomon, European Cellars, Charlotte, NC; tel. (704) 358-1565
MASTER CLASS animée par Philippe Cambie et Philippe Faure-Brac
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Réponse souhaitée avant le 25 novembre
invitation-soire-1er-dcembre-les-domaines-philippe-cambie.png Excellente journée
A très vite