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Our tasting impressions
The color is red heading toward black with purple at the rim. It's young and the flavors are entirely primary - deep, lots of fruit but very vinous. Quite savory despite the sweet fruit - like a mix of herb roasted turkey and candied yams. With air, it sheds heat. It is spicy, herbal and utterly Provencal. Textbook CdP and a serious delight. Drinking pretty well but a bottle opened for a few days was better integrated, brighter and more interesting. A rigorous decant would help as well.
About this wine
Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the iconic wine of the Southern Rhône region. It translates to House of 9 Popes. This one, from the outstanding 2016 vintage is 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah & 10% Mourvèdre. The average age of the vines is 50 years planted in clay & limestone soil.
The bunches are selectively de-stemmed then vinified for 28 days with punching down of the cap. The wine is aged for one year in demi-muids (600L oak barrels).
About the grape blend
A typical blend, often referred to as G-S-M. Grenache the preeminent red wine grape of the Southern Rhône, makes full-bodied, red-fruited wine. It enjoys very dry, hot and windy conditions but the vines produce scant fruit which means great concentration. The Syrah provides structure, savoriness and black fruit, while the Mourvèdre contributes length, tannins and floral notes.
About the vintage
2016 is one of the most balanced vintages in the last 30 years, combining vibrant fruit, strong tannic structure yet roundness. An enjoyable vintage early on with capability of aging and improving for decades.
On your table…
I tasted this recently with roast chicken and a side of tomatoey, vegetables ratatouille style. The veggies reflected back beautifully on the wine. Unless you give it a long decant or cellar it for awhile, I would recommend beef or lamb rather than the chicken. Serve at cellar temp.
Suggested Glassware: Grassl Cru
Located in the southern Rhône village of Jonquières, the 8-hectare Domaine de L’Arnesque is owned and operated by Marie & Sébastien Pathier. Marie’s family has produced wine here for six generations since 1846.
More than 70% of the property is planted to Grenache and the average age of the vines is over 50 years. Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan also are grown. They farm without chemical treatments. The grapes are harvested and sorted by hand. Each grape variety and each plot is vinified separately. Sébastien ferments traditionally with an indigenous yeast in concrete tanks.
This is a lovely, tranquil and pastoral estate and the Pathiers are much the same. They are honest, hard-working people who are 100% dedicated to producing beautiful wines that fully express the terroir of their vineyards.