Lucien et Andre Brunel, Les Cailloux, Cuvee Centenaire, AOC Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Vaucluse, PACA, France, 2007
On permitted varieties
For red wine, 13 are permitted, both red and white (w): bourboulenc (w), cinsault, clairette (w), counoise (w), grenache, mourvedre, muscardin, picardan (w), picpoul (w), roussanne (w), syrah, terret noir, vaccarese. Some, notably Chateau de Beaucastel, use all thirteen.
This wine: lot No. none, a single bottling run; normally a 7200 bottle cuvee of 80% grenache noir (planted in 1889), 15% mourvedre and 5% syrah; yield 15hl/ha; a proportion, mainly syrah, was aged in new oak barrels (fût de chêne) for 18 months; bottled unfiltered; coated natural cork closure, 14.5% abv, Gauntleys, £108.20 (12/18)
Consumer tasting note: an outstanding mature Chateauneuf-du-Pape, beautifully balanced with a strong intensity and fine grained moderate tannins; medium-full bodied with lightly warming high alcohol, a complex evolved nose of stewed and dried berries, rich tea rose, fruit cake, and cold roast beef, with a palate which is a little port-like, with flavours of dried berries, dark plum jam, kirsch, and cedary-old polished wood. A long length.
Drink now – RTD and will keep for 3-5 years – Wait. Can decant for an hour, but really it is best to open, pour, and savour whilst the wine develops in the glass.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, medium intensity garnet, showing tears [1/4 teaspoon of soft and firm sediment, with a few tartrate crystals].
Nose: clean, pronounced intensity, fully developed, with aromas as they come, of quite fragrant stewed red berries, spicy, a farmyard hint, a lactic nuance, cold roast beef, red liquorice, dark strawberry jam, dark glace cherry, old polished wood, ripe black cherry, black liquorice, warm stewed red plum, touch of kirsch, a thick rich floral note of tea rose, warm fruit cake, a hint of cedar, whiff of cut flat mushroom, dried herbs, a touch waxy, hint of linseed oil.
Palate: dry, medium acidity, fine-grained ripe medium tannins, high alcohol, medium (+) body, medium (+) intensity, a smooth texture, with flavours opening a bit porty but without excessive heat, then dried cranberry, dried currant, spicy, dark plum jam, kirsch, old polished wood. A long length with a clean finish of dried red berries.
Quality: outstanding, very well balanced acidity and fine grained tannins with the slightly warming alcohol – a food wine; a strong intensity throughout, with slightly lesser concentration; a fully developed wine of high complexity, with evidence of MLF (lactic), well integrated oak (spice), and time in bottle (cedar, dried berries, farmyard, meat, old polished wood); follows into a sound long length.
Drinking readiness/ageing potential: drink now, unsuited to further ageing, but will keep for 3-5 years – a sound acid-tannin structure, very well balanced and fully developed, with lots of intensity, concentration and length, and an expansive predominantly tertiary complexity.