Tag Archives: Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Tasting of Northern Rhone 2010 and Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2010 and 2006

I recently attended a dinner where the wine theme was Rhone and we tasted wines from both northern Rhone and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Most of the wines where from 2010, which is considered to be a fantastic, but still very young vintage. The youthfulness was also very apparent in the tasting and we also felt that some of the wines had gone into a tunnel phase.

Below are tasting notes and some basic information about some of the producers.

Rhone wines 2010

2010 E. Guigal St. Joseph Lieu-Dit St. Joseph Rouge

The Guigal family have had an enormous influence on the development in the region. They do both Estate bottling and act as negotiant, and today they produce wines from both Northern and Southern Rhone.

Rather sweet and soft fruit combined with slight vanilla notes. Careful but rather precise acidity on the palate where we again find vanilla and the soft fruit but also some white pepper and oranges. Tannins are very velvety and of good quality, though there is a hint of oak bitterness in the finish.

Pleasant and likable wine but rather one dimensional and simple.


2010 Domaine Yves Cuilleron St. Joseph Les Serines

Domaine Yves Cuilleron has vineyards in St. Joseph, Condrieu, Côte Rôtie, Cornas and St. Péray. They produce wines in a rather modern style but are increasingly careful with oak and today use less than 20% of new oak.

The nose is dense with fruit notes, herbs and hints of oil paint. Still it manages to keep an energetic and fresh expression.

The acidity is amazing but a bit dominant at the moment. The balance should improve greatly with time. There is mainly dark fruit in the beginning but then some red fruit comes through, together with minerals and a hint of marzipan.

The wine has fantastic precision and should develop beautifully with time.


2010 Domaine du Tunnel (Stéphane Robert) Cornas Vin Noir

The style of Domaine du Tunnel i classical/traditional and they avoid new oak barrels to avoid masking the wine. In their Cornas Vin Noir the grapes are from 100 year old vines.

Dense dark fruit, orange peel, spices and some under vegetation greets us in this rather forward nose.

The palate opens up with almost sourish red fruit together with softer blueberries. boysenberries and some black pepper in the background. Tannins are very present but of good quality and never gets dry.

Great nose but the palate gets a bit heavy and has a slight bitterness. This wine needs much more time to reach the peak but the potential is good.


2010 Domaine du Colombier Hermitage

This wine is made of grapes from three different lieux-dits in Hermitage. Before 1991 the grapes from these vineyards where sold to negotiants. They ferment the grapes in whole clusters and the wine has been aged in french oak barrels, where approximately 30% are new.

A compact nose with an abundance of oil paint and soft dark fruit from blueberries, boysenberries and a hint of violet. Despite the masculine expression the nose manages keep a freshness.

The palate has a slightly sweet expression but this is complemented well with an energetic acidity. There are lots of berries, both red and dark but unfortunately also oak notes that masks the fruit and makes the wine slightly heavy. The tannins are clearly also affected by the oak treatment.

The wine has a fantastic nose but gets heavy on the palate and you need a break between each sip.


2006 Domaine du Pégaü Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Réservée

Domaine du Pegau produces Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine in classical style with no destemming or new wood. The red wines are dominated by the Grenache grape.

Very ripe fruit, mainly plums and apricot, but also a slightly oxidized expression and some tobacco and violet. Initially the wine has some barnyard notes but these quickly disappear.

The palate has sweet red berries, some ginger and sandy tannins. Acidity is very careful and soft but still present.

For a wine showing this amount of ripe fruit and with a rather low acidity it manages to stay surprisingly fresh.


2010 Domaine Chante Cigale Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes

Domaine Chante Cigale represent a more modern style of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The vines used for this wine are at least 80 years old and the wine has been aged in both stainless steel tanks and new French oak barrels.

An abundance of dense fruit, some orange peel, tea, herbs but also some green notes make up the nose. The palate has a powerful expression with some clear alcohol notes. Again there is a green touch to the wine and there is some black pepper, boysenberries and a rather fresh acidity. The finish unfortunately gets rather bitter, probably from oak.


A powerful, big, deep and persistent Chateauneuf-du-Pape

I recently reorganized my wines and rediscovered a Chateauneuf-du-Pape that was one of the wines from the 2007 vintage that was blessed with the remarkable 100 Parker-points in 2009 when Robert Parker according to the international world of critics went crazy and dubbed “everything” in the Rhône dale to perfection. Never the less, he certainly put his finger, all by himself, on the issue with what points really mean and no mistakes can be made of what his preference is about. I clearly remember, having no ideas about Boislauzon at the time, except for recognising the label, when buying two of these and putting them in my wine cooler since they only cost €40 each when released. Amazingly this wine today still retails for about €200 that it reached after Parker’s announcement. And then the 2010 vintage was blessed with the same top score, so the future seems bright for this estate.

The 6th generation is running the estate now; the brother and sister Daniel and Christine Chaussy. They are bio-dynamic and employ biological farming in the vineyards. They throw whole grape bunches into the crusher, employ cement vats for fermentation and carry out maceration with daily pumping over and remontage for 30 days. Aging is employed in a combination of big, neutral barrels (foudres) and 50% barriques of which are 2nd and 3rd passage. Chateneauf-de-Pape is usually a blend of several grapes including Mourvèdre and Grenache. However, in this cuvée they blend 80% Grenache and the rest is Mourvèdre from four different vineyards of which many vines are over 80 years old.

The 2007 vintage was really good in Chateauneuf-du-Pape with some very well timed and needed rain in mid September after a very dry summer. Harvest was very easy and rendered evenly and almost perfect ripe fruit with high concentration if you waited a little.

Colour is very dark ruby in the middle and scarlet, light red purple edges.

A very deeply composed nose emerges from the glass. Some very interesting scents of pencil-lead, saline mushrooms, shale, summer meadow, complex earthy minerals, balsamic notes, distinct black pepper and unfortunately, suddenly some “black-green” oak notes, flowery bath soap hints on the otherwise very interesting nose. The latter three most likely from oak. Anyway, if you can ignore the oak contributions this is an overall elegant and deep nose indeed with a lot of expression from its site.

On the palate, we are offered dark, dense and jammy fruit. Distinct raisins, figs, obvious gravel, shale, cassis, notes of cocoa, menthol, peppers and bitter anise. Acidity is very fine and balsamic and a little saline with a very delightful fresh grape twist. Texture is polished, fine sandy and tannins are ripe, thick and pleasantly chewy. A very powerful wine with thick, chewy layers of fruit with impressive persistent, but in addition to oak notes, there is a tiny metallic-bitterness in the long finish that disturbs the overall impression. Even though the label says 15% alcohol, this is not a problem really.

It is a powerful, big, rich and fresh wine, full of thick, chewy layers of fruit with a lot of complex aromas and some depth in here from very old vines, but sadly a little coated with toasty oak notes and some bitterness in the finish that lowers the overall impression unfortunately. Clearly, a more careful use of oak would have rendered a better wine and score. This is strange as they claim to be using no new oak here, but maybe the toasting is the key here. Open now-2020.