If we look at the half empty glass - or tank -, frustration, and even sadness, will overwhelm us : historically small yields in France. The lowest of the post-war years. Cellars are empty. Clearly, one has to state that climate hazards, methodically, worked against us this year, in a succession of definitely adverse events : an abnormally cool spring caused frost, then grape shatter, on all of Rhone cépages, and, more particularly, Grenache. This cruel Spring followed up on a dauntingly dry summer… In the end, the yields in juice are tragically affected. The Wine grower’s job becomes tightrope walker’s job… without a net. These realities being called to mind, if we now look at the half full glass - and it is our nature to be optimistic -, the words which will come to me are relief, and even… enthusiasm ! These very challenging conditions indeed gave birth to first juices of so brilliant a Quality as they do better than just console us : they succeed in enticing, the Vignerons and us… !
The vines had naturally little load : they reacted magnificently to the extreme conditions of the year. The plant was able to bring its fruit to maturity, without big constraint, in an optimal way. The Wines promise to be splendidly well-balanced !
Year climatically unbalanced, but Cuvées showing balance… the Bourgogne way ! This, by the grace of Old Grenache, which brought to the highest level the singular personality of the real Rhone Wine. Wines are scented, refined...
Bas de la Crau.Nature des sols
12 months in two and three vintages barrels - Allier et Tronçais. Then 12 months in foudre.Vinification
100% non destemmed.
Decant 2 hours before tasting.
Shaped like a Bourgogne ! Clear color, intense nose on the faded rose and the peony. The mouth is chiselled, quite in restraint. Worth forgetting for a good decade !
14,5%Mise en bouteille
Without fining and filtration.Cépages
Grenache : 99 % Autre : 1 %
From a parcel of Grenache in la Crau (ouest)'s sandy soils, the 2017 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Speciale is the pick of the T-L CdP lineup. Yes, there's hallmark cedar and vanilla touches, but once past those, there's incredible raspberry and kirsch flavors. Full-bodied, supple and creamy across the palate, it ends silky and long, with intense fruit coming through on the finish.
Wine Advocate , 94-96/100 , 2019-08-31
Mid crimson with quite a pale rim. Stewed plums on the nose with medium intensity. Very sweet, luscious start. Masses of sweetness and this is all fruit but (admirably) is not especially hot or alcoholic. Rather fine, polished tannins. Quite sophisticated. Refined tannins on the end.
Jancis Robinson , 17,5/20 , 2018-10-22
The smallest production cuvée and almost all Grenache from the sandy parts of la Crau, the 2017 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Spéciale gives up a huge nose of cassis, orange peel, spring flowers, and spice. It's full-bodied, incredibly pure, elegant, and silky, with no hard edges and remarkable purity. It's a killer wine and unquestionably one of the gems in the vintage.
Jeb Dunnuck , 95-97/100 , 2018-08-28