2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Château La Nerthe, Rhône

2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Château La Nerthe, Rhône

Product: 20161114746
Prices start from £52.00 per bottle (75cl). Buying options
2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Château La Nerthe, Rhône

Description

The final blend this year will be the usual cornucopia of Grenache, Syrah , Mourvèdre and Cinsault, the Syrah now nearly achieving parity with the Grenache (and in terms of taste profile it’s certainly just as influential). Maturation has been 60 percent in barrel, 40 percent in foudre and the wine rejoices in classic ripeness and purity, aromatic and subtle intensity. An archetype from the modern end of the spectrum, its modernity is tempered by a robust respect for provenance and the dexterity of an extremely gifted winemaker. Drink 2019-2025.
Simon Field MW, Wine Buyer

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About this WINE

Chateau la Nerthe

Chateau la Nerthe

Ch. la Nerthe is a stunning, 500-year-old property that has become one to watch over the past few years. Working organically since 1998, its impressive range of 57 parcels on various soil types and expositions helps to produce wines which are not only a seamless and complete expression of Châteauneuf-du-Pape but also have wonderful complexity. The noticeable care and attention taken in both the vineyards and cellar has, over the past few years, resulted in seriously impressive wines here. This property is, in every way, a worthy rival to the likes of Ch. de Beaucastel.

The 2019 vintage was challenging here, as it was across the Rhône Valley, given the multiple heatwaves in the summer months and the extreme drought between May and September. But these tricky conditions have revealed the true magic of vines which are so perfectly adapted to manage the majority of nature’s whims; 2019 ended up becoming an exceptional vintage here.

Key to its success this year is the remarkable terroir at Ch. la Nerthe. The mix of rocky, clay and sandy soils, as well as the natural springs at the property, bring a wonderful freshness and minerality to the wines. The very special top white cuvée, Clos de Beauvenir, comes from a single, walled plot – an old castle garden, right in front of the historic château.

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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 Advocate92/100
The Wine Advocate92/100
La Nerthe's 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape is a blend of 37% Grenache, 29% Syrah, 25% Mourvdre, 7% Cinsault and 2% others. Aged in a substantial portion of new oak (20%), it shows hints of toast and vanilla on the nose, then plenty of concentrated cherry fruit on the palate. It's full-bodied and plush in texture, making it approachable now, but there's enough tannic backbone and length on the finish to think it will drink well for more than a decade.
Joe Czerwinski - 31/08/2018 Read more