Robert Parker 99
There are 500 cases of the 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve. At 16.4% natural alcohol, the pleasure police will no doubt suggest this wine is hot and out of balance. However, nothing could be further from the truth as there is not a trace of heat in this modern day legend in traditional Chateauneuf du Pape. Yields were under 20 hectoliters per hectare, and the vines utilized for the Reserve were planted in 1904. Virtually all Grenache with the balance probably including Syrah and Mourvedre, this is a field blend. An inky/purple color is accompanied by notes of raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. There is a sappy precision to its formidably endowed, massive mouthfeel. Sadly, this profound Chateauneuf du Pape is nearly impossible to find. It should evolve easily for 20-25 years. Those wines under the name DAUMEN are from Jean-Paul Daumen’s negociant operation. Some of them actually emerge from estate fruit that he has declassified from his vineyards. They are limited production, but exceptionally impressive cuvees, so consumers take note. Daumen is one of the most meticulous viticulturists and winemakers in Chateauneuf du Pape. From his cellars in the appellation’s northern sector known as Gres, he has long fashioned some extraordinary Chateauneuf du Papes as well as a small amount of high octane Cotes du Rhone from some of the oldest vines owned by his family. For starters, Daumen’s 2011s are some of the finest wines of the southern Rhone. Yields for both the estate and negociant cuvees averaged a mere 26 hectoliters per hectare, which is well under two tons of fruit per acre. Never one to rest on his already impressive laurels, Daumen has basically renamed his Chateauneuf du Papes to reflect the parcels from which they emanate. As for the new estate Chateauneuf du Papes, no Reserve cuvee was produced, so there are only two offerings. Various American importers, including: T. Edward Wines, Ltd., New York, NY; tel. (212) 233-1504; Route des Vins Imports, LLC, Charleston, SC; tel. (843) 737-0301; VinConnect Inc., CA; tel. (415) 857-5740
Anticipated maturity: 2012-2037
(made from a yield of only 15 hl/ha according to Daumen): Opaque purple. Intensely perfumed scents of cherry-cola, blackberry liqueur and Asian spices, with an exotic floral overtone. Weighty but sharply focused black and blue fruit and lavender flavors display superb clarity and palate-staining concentration, with a spicy nuance emerging with air. The floral quality lingers on the extremely long, sweet and subtly tannic finish. One of the stars of this outstanding vintage.