With many of the tiny production, mega-cuvée Châteauneuf du Papes now commanding crazy money, one can lose sight of the incredible value this region offers. The truth is that the Rhône arguably offers a quality/value ratio unmatched throughout France, if not the whole of Europe; in his recent Rhône review for Antonio Galloni’s VinousMedia website, Josh Raynolds sums it up perfectly: “in many cases these releases come far closer to the quality of their limited-production high-end siblings than price differentials would suggest.”
One of the very best value, traditionally-styled Châteauneuf du Papes is the brilliant Vieux Donjon. The Domaine is owned by Lucien and Marie José Michel, with the winemaking now firmly in the hands of their talented daughter, Claire Michel – who cut her teeth at California’s Harlan Estate before taking over the family business. The wine is a powerful, traditional, but beautifully concentrated style with the potential to age for 15 or more years, particularly in the top vintages; we have tasted mature examples which have retained beautiful shape, fruit and structure.
Rather than confusing matters with multiple bottlings, this is a straightforward operation: they produce just one red Châteauneuf du Pape (and a limited quantity of white), with the red always a rough blend of 75% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre and the balance a mix of other local varieties. The production is a mere 4,000 cases, roughly half that of Chateau de Beaucastel.
At this price, the 2012 is an unapologetic steal. Returning to Josh Raynolds to sum up the vintage“In many ways, to make a very broad generalization, the typical 2012 Châteauneuf offers all things to all people: it has sufficient structure for at least mid-term aging as well as the forward fruit and harmonious tannins to drink on the young side.”
|Red||2012||CNDP - Vieux Donjon||btls||IB||18||6||$ 408||cs||91-94 (WA)||Add|
94 points JR, vinousmedia.com – “Vivid ruby. Exotic, expansive aromas of fresh red and dark berries, incense, anise and garrigue. Deep, sappy black raspberry and boysenberry flavors show excellent clarity, with a hint of spicecake building in the glass. Nicely balances power and finesse and shows outstanding vivacity. A smoky mineral note adds lift and cut to the long, fruit-driven finish, which shows just a hint of silky tannins.”
Offer subject to final confirmation. E&OE