Red, For laying down

2012 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Piedlong, Domaine la Roquète, Brunier

2012 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Piedlong, Domaine la Roquète, Brunier

Red | For laying down | Domaine La Roquette | Code: 23103 | 2012 | France > Rhône > Chateauneuf du Pape | Southern Rhône Blend | Full Bodied, Dry | 14.5 % alcohol

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Bottle

£32.95

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The Producer

Domaine La Roquette

Domaine La Roquette

Henri Brunier (of Vieux Télégraphe fame) bought this Châteauneuf-du- Pape estate in 1986. The 27 hectares of vineyards are located on a rocky plateau north of the village. They are planted with 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvèdre and the average age of the vines is over 40 years old.

The estate is now run by brothers Daniel and Frederick Brunier. A new winery was built in the mid 1990s and was first used for the 1998 vintage. The grapes are hand picked and are then fermented for 15-20 days in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine remains in tanks for a further year before being transferred into oak casks where it is aged for a further 8 months. It is bottle unfined and unfiltered.

The Grape

Southern Rhône Blend

Southern Rhône Blend

The vast majority of wines from the Southern Rhône are blends. There are 5 main black varieties, although others are used and the most famous wine of the region, Châteauneuf du Pape, can be made from as many as 13 different varieties. Grenache is the most important grape in the southern Rhône - it contributes alcohol, warmth and gentle juicy fruit and is an ideal base wine in the blend. Plantings of Syrah in the southern Rhône have risen dramatically in the last decade and it is an increasingly important component in blends. It rarely attains the heights that it does in the North but adds colour, backbone, tannins and soft ripe fruit to the blend.

The much-maligned Carignan has been on the retreat recently but is still included in many blends - the best old vines can add colour, body and spicy fruits. Cinsault is also backtracking but, if yields are restricted, can produce moderately well-coloured wines adding pleasant-light fruit to red and rosé blends. Finally, Mourvèdre, a grape from Bandol on the Mediterranean coast, has recently become an increasingly significant component of Southern Rhône blends - it often struggles to ripen fully but can add acidity, ripe spicy berry fruits and hints of tobacco to blends.

The Region

Chateauneuf du Pape

Chateauneuf du Pape

Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the largest and most important wine appellation in the southern Rhône. It is home to more than 3,200 hectares of vineyards and over 80 growers; more wine is produced in Châteauneuf than the whole of the northern Rhône put together. The vineyards are bounded to the west by the Rhône river and to the east by the A7 autoroute.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape was the first ever Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée established in France, in 1932. Small, rounded rocks from the ancient river bed known as galets roulés are a key aspect of what makes Châteauneuf -du-Pape wines so distinctive, with the rocks reflecting heat back into the vines at night, thus increasing ripeness and reducing acidity.

The gloriously rich red wines, redolent of the heat and herbs of the south, are enhanced by the complexity which comes from blending several grape varieties. Fourteen are permitted for reds: GrenacheMouvedreSyrah, Cinsault, Vaccarese, Counoise, Teret Noir, Muscadin, Picpoul Noir, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Rousanne, Picpoul Gris and Picardin. With red Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Grenache typically dominates with Syrah and Mourvèdre in support.

White Châteauneuf-du-Pape is becoming increasingly sought-after, even though it represents less than 10 percent of the total production. Here, five grapes are permitted: Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Roussanne, Bourboulenc and Picardin.

Recommended Producers: Château de Beaucastel, Clos de Papes, Vieux Télégraphe, Château Rayas,, Domaine de la Charbonnière, Sabon, Château La Nerthe, Domaine Perrin

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