2012 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Les Hautes Brusquières, Cuvée Spéciale, Domaine de la Charbonnière, Rhône

2012 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Les Hautes Brusquières, Cuvée Spéciale, Domaine de la Charbonnière, Rhône

Product: 20128027948
2012 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Les Hautes Brusquières, Cuvée Spéciale, Domaine de la Charbonnière, Rhône

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Our 2012 Rhône Vintage Recommendation: Favourite Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Black, full-bodied fruit, this is a bit closed on the nose. The 40 percent Syrah dominates on the palate, which is dark, rich and seductive with a touch of spice and plenty of concentrated fruit. With lots of soft, ripe tannins on the finish, this is a big wine with a great future.
Chris Pollington, Private Account Manager

Distinctive pebbly soils in the north of the appellation host this blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah….without the 2% of Counoise of 2011, apparently, not that this makes a discernible difference.  Véronique views 2012 as an excellent year for Syrah and it is the polished elegance of the Syrah which really marks out this cuvée, with black fruit, plush, herbal elegance and supple ripe tannins.
Simon Field MW, Rhône Wine Buyer

Last year – 2013 – was an auspicious year for the likeable Maret family, as they celebrated their centenary. In 2013 Monsieur Maret went into formal retirement although he was far from absent during my tastings! Meanwhile his daughters Véronique and Caroline have been especially successful with their first full vinification: in 2012 they had fewer of the Grenache ‘coulure’  issues which have been evident in both 2011 and, to a lesser extent, in 2013

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Critics reviews

Wine Advocate92-94/100
Looking better than the 2011, yet a step behind the 2010, the 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Hautes Brusquieres Cuvee Special is beautifully rich and textured, yet stays nicely focused and elegant. Dark fruits, ground herbs and licorice all give way to a full-bodied palate that shows clean acidity and sweet tannin. As with the traditional cuvee, it should be relatively approachable on release and age gracefully.

A fantastic estate, Domaine de la Charbonniere is run by the Maret family, with the two daughters, Caroline and Veronique, taking more and more responsibility. The wines are made by Veronique and the estate produces five, sometimes six (including the white), Chateauneuf-du-Papes, a solid Vacqueyras and a Cotes du Rhone. For the most part, the wines are traditional in style and age gracefully. Drink 2015-2024
Jeb Dunnuck - Wine Advocate #209, Oct 2013 Read more
Jancis Robinson MW17/20
Dark crimson. Bitter treacle on the nose. Then sweet and flattering on the palate. Sufficient acidity – all the ingredients are there but they need quite a time to knit. Vineyard soil: galets, clay-limestone, chalk. Lieu-dit: Le plateau des Brusquières – northwest of the appellation. 60% Grenache, 39% Syrah, 1% Counoise. In tronconique oak and inox for 12 months, 5% new oak.
Jancis Robinson MW, jancisrobsinson.com - Jan 2014 Read more

About this WINE

Domaine de la Charbonniere

Domaine de la Charbonniere

Domaine de la Charbonnière was purchased by Eugene Maret in 1912. 90 years later and it is still a family-owned affair. The taciturn Michel Maret is a man of the soil, his reticence more than compensated by the eloquence of his wines, on the one hand, and the loquacious nature of his wife on the other. The two charming daughters, Véronique and Caroline, have found respective niches in the vineyard and the commercial function. All in all a complete and happy team, a facet once again echoed in the wines.Domaine de la Charbonniere owns 17.5 hectares of vineyards in the Châteauneuf du Pape appellation, as well as 4 hectares in Vacqueyras. Michel produces wonderfully well balanced wines that combine intensity and depth of fruit with finesse and elegance.

Michel Maret produces a number of different cuvees all from low yields and all bottled without filtration. His village cuvee is one of the best value wines in the appellation while the Cuvée Traditionnelle is a model of balance and purity of fruit.

The Cuvée Vieilles Vignes is produced from La Crau and is silkily rich with marvellous ageing potential while the Hautes Brusquières is a perennial favourite, atypical as it is with its high Syrah component. This is now one of Châteauneuf's leading domains and one can expect the quality to improve even more in the future if past results are any kind of guide.

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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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