Jeb Dunnuck 93
"Moving to the reds and starting with the 2018 Chteauneuf Du Pape (a blend of 75 Grenache, 10 Syrah, 9 Mourvdre, and the balance Cinsault, Terret Noir, Muscardin, and other permitted varieties), this wine has a terrific sense of purity and elegance in its black and blue fruits, sappy flowers, and peppery garrigue aromas and flavors. These carry to a medium-bodied, finesse-oriented wine that has beautiful tannins, no hard edges, and outstanding length. This is a classic, traditional cuve done brilliantly. While it has the upfront style of the vintage front and center, it's still going to evolve beautifully on its balance and purity."
"Gentle floral notes here with a little lemon pith. It's weighty, but not overly full-bodied, the acidity isn't high but it's well balanced, with pleasing lemon skin bitterness on the palate. One of the less showy, more drinkable styles of white Chteauneuf with a cleansing electricity on the palate, and a dry, stone-sucking finish. A blend of all the classic white Chteauneuf varieties, and a little Grenache Gris for the first time this year. Fermented and aged in stainless steel and a little in barriques, two new and two 1-year-old (so less than 10 in wood)."
Clos du Mont-Olivet is a true insiders Chteauneuf-du-Pape domaine. Often described as a beacon of traditionalism, the Sabon family makes Rhne wines that value freshness and elegance over bombastic prowess. Founded in the mid-16th century, the estate today is run by the dynamic and talented Thierry Sabon, and encompasses parcels of mainly 60+ year old vines in the heart of Chteauneuf. The wines are classical in style, with heady, complex aromatics, and ripe, exuberant, garrigue-laden fruit that tastes of the stones that comprise the fascinating soils of the area. Southern Rhne wines rarely speak so clearly and eloquently of their terroir. It has become quite clear that the quality of Clos du Mont-Olivet has never been higher, and the value represented by their extraordinary lineup stands as a bastion of historic Chteauneuf.
Clos du Mont OlivetView all from Clos du Mont Olivet
The wines of this estate, which traces its history back to 1547, are among the finest of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Run by the esteemed Sabon family, Clos du Mont-Olivet is made in a traditional style: partial destemming of grapes, crushing and fermenting in concrete vats, and aging in large foudres.
Making wine is a family affair at Clos du Mont Olivet, and the three Sabon brothers -- Jean-Claude, Pierre and Bernard have run the domaine for the last 30 years, with Bernard's son Thierry gradually assuming winemaking duties, starting gradually in 2001. The wines are composed predominantly of Grenache (usually around 80%), with Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault completing the blend. The vines of this estate average over 60 years old.
The 29-hectares of Chateauneuf du Pape that the domaine holds (they also have 17ha of Cotes du Rhone vineyards) is made up of many small parcels, spread throughout the appellation, that vary in size between 21 ares and 3 hectares. Montalivet is a walled vineyard to the east that surrounds the domaine and features the Sabons' oldest vines. Since 1990, these grapes have formed the basis for the deluxe "Cuvée Papet" – an amazingly concentrated and complex Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Further north, Le Pied-de-Baud contains "galets roulés," the large oval rocks for which Châteauneuf-du-Pape is well-known. Although the vines here are younger, the spherical stones reflect the intense southern-Rhone sun, thereby ripening the grapes to full maturity. The third primary section of vines, located to the south, is known as Les Gallimades, a plot of smaller stones and gravel with excellent drainage.
Blending wines sourced from these three areas, the Sabons fashion complex Châteauneuf-du-Pape that combines the fruit intensity and alcoholic strength of Grenache with a slight and appealing hint of rusticity. It only makes sense that such a renowned Châteauneuf producer would also make fabulous Cotes-du-Rhone, which indeed they do; year after year, these are among the best Cotes-du-Rhone values to be found.