2012 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Cuvée Reserve, Domaine Roger Sabon

2012 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Cuvée Reserve, Domaine Roger Sabon

Product: 20128015620
2012 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Cuvée Reserve, Domaine Roger Sabon

Description

Our 2012 Rhône Vintage Recommendation: Favourite Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Only 20 percent Syrah in the blend and 80 percent Grenache, but it’s the intense pure, black-fruit Syrah that’s dominating on the nose. Quite closed on the palate, but there is obviously a large amount of dark fruit yet to be revealed, crisp acidity and ripe tannins keep it all in check. This Châteauneuf will age beautifully.
Chris Pollington, Private Account Manager

The Reserve really impressed this year; the Cinsault that one finds in the Olivets is replaced by Mourvèdre, which adds spicy depth and notes of thyme and laurel. The House style is generous and well-upholstered; here we have a most pleasing illustration.
Simon Field MW, Rhône Wine Buyer

Didier Negron places 2012 between 2010 and 2011 stylistically, praising its structure and finesse. A little rain in August was helpful for the grapes, ensuring equilibrium, with both yields and pH levels lower than normal. There are four red wines, the first three selected primarily on perceived merit and the final, Le Secret, more site-specific and made in very small volumes.


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About this WINE

Domaine Roger Sabon

Domaine Roger Sabon

Roger Sabon is described by Robert Parker as "one of the more intellectual vignerons in Châteauneuf du-Pape".

His vineyard holdings are surprisingly small, around 14 hectares, which are divided between his properties in Lirac, Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Cotes du Rhône. The Châteauneuf vineyards are well situated in Les Cabrieres, La Crau, Courtherzon and Nalys and the average age of his vines is unusually high with some of them dating back to the early 1900s.

The general cepage is made up of 70% Grenache although this is reduced in his top two cuvées, the Cuvee Reservee and he Cuvée Prestige. Roger Sabon is a traditionalist and prefers to age his wines in small oak piece, none of which are new, for six months following a sojourn en cuve. He places great emphasis upon elegance rather than power in his wines and in youth his wine can be deceiving.

With time, however, they grow and gain in depth and complexity and are some of the finest Châteauneufs being produced today.

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Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Châteauneuf-du-Pape

The most celebrated village of the Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the birthplace of the now indispensable French Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée system – imperfect though it may be. Compared to the Northern Rhône, the vineyards here are relatively flat and often feature the iconic galet pebbles – the precise benefits of which are a source of much debate. Minimum alcohol levels required by the AOC are the highest in France, but at 12.5% it is well below the natural generosity of Grenache, which only achieves its full aromatic potential when it is fully ripe and laden with the resultant high sugars. Syrah and Mourvèdre contribute the other defining elements in the blend, adding pepper, savoury spice and structure to the decadent Grenache. There are a further 10 permitted red grape varieties which can be used to adjust the “seasoning”. Of the five white varieties permitted, it is Grenache Noir’s sibling – predictably perhaps – Grenache Blanc, which dominates, though Roussanne shows a great deal of promise when handled well, notably at Château de Beaucastel.

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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.

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Critics reviews

The Wine Advocate93/100
Jancis17.5/20
The Wine Advocate93/100
The 2012 Chteauneuf du Pape Cuvee Reserve is knockout stuff. Full-bodied, textured and yet still elegant and finesse-oriented, it gives up tons of ground pepper, spice, new leather and black cherry nuances. Made from 80% Grenache and 10% each of Syrah and Mourvedre, it has excellent concentration, mouth-filling levels of fruit and a big finish. Drink this beauty over the coming decade.
Jeb Dunnuck - 31/10/2014 Read more
Jancis17.5/20
Clean, fresh fruit with lovely balance and direction. Good drive. Impressive wine even if not that rich. Pretty cool for a Châteauneuf. Clay-limestone. 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre. RS 1.6 g/l. 18 months in 70% foudres, 30% barriques.
Jancis Robinson MW, jancisrobsinson.com - Jan 2014 Read more