Domaine de la Charbonniere

2019 Domaine de la Charbonniere Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Vielles Vignes

$62.99

Current stock: 30

2019 Domaine de la Charbonniere Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Vielles Vignes

 Oh my goodness, don’t we love wines like this!?  Classic Chateauneuf du Pape, with its heady but ethereal bouquet and ravishing, ravishing fruit, has no real parallel anywhere. It’s the benchmark against which all the rest of the Rhone grape-producing world measures its wines.  And, yes, there are appellations in the southern Rhone Valley producing wines of better value but, sometimes, when that pepper-crusted beef loin is roasting away in the oven and something a little more elevated is called for, you just can’t beat the real thing.  Charbonniere is, of course, very much the  real thing.  It’s already well known to lovers of the Rhone Valley, as its rise within the appellation over the past twenty years has been meteoric and well documented by critics and wine lovers alike.  In the Manet family since 1912, it is the young, dynamic Veronique of the current generation Manet who has overseen its conversion to organic farming and crafted the recent string of ultra-impressive wines. The property sits on the La Crau plateau, the high-rent district of the Chateauneuf du Pape appellation, and it’s the very old vine Grenache grown there- a good portion of which is fermented as whole clusters- that creates the plush, silky mouthfeel and intoxicating aromatics of this 2019. But Charbonniere has long been known for its astute use of Mourvedre in its blends, and the 10% addition of that grape adds a dark, peppery aspect to the wine, as well as depth and personality.  It’s the yin to the Grenache’s yang!  The fruit is voluminous and plush with lots of primary baby fat on those bones but its cherry confit- black raspberry personality is strong.  It has all the garrigue, white pepper and smoky mineral you could want, as well as sleekness and texture.  Still young and tannic, it’s a broad, silky palated red with old vine depth and amazing complexity.  Yes, while we love the reds from the various villages of the Cotes du Rhone and bow down to their extraordinary value, there is, alas, only one Chateauneuf du Pape, and here is one we think justifies the hype!  Drink now or keep as long as you like.  We anticipate this wine will start to hit its stride in about three or four years and go on from there for as long as you like. 60 bottles in stock.    

Jeb Dunnuck: The 2019 Châteauneuf Du Pape Cuvée Vieilles Vignes (90% Grenache and 10% Mourvèdre) comes all from the stony, pebbly soils of La Crau and was brought up in tank and demi-muids. Ripe black cherry fruits, iodine, ground pepper, and bloody, meaty nuances all emerge on the nose, and it's full-bodied, with a seamless, multi-dimensional texture, ultra-fine tannins, and a rock star of a finish. It's just a brilliant, elegant, pure, lengthy wine that does everything right. Drink this classic, traditional, structured wine over the coming two decades. While I’ve always loved the wines of Domaine de la Charbonnière, recent vintages are on another level, and I’d unquestionably put the domaine up with the crème de la crème of the appellation today. 97 points   

James Suckling: Although this is still a bit closed, the pomegranate and sour-cherry aromas are delightful and the hints of coffee, tobacco leaf and cigar box add complexity. Rich and concentrated, but very focused. Huge tannin structure, but beautifully crafted and the wine glides over your palate. Long, youthful finish. From the La Crau site, this is a blend of grenache from 70-year-old vines and mourvedre. Drinkable now, but best from 2024. 95 points   

While I’ve always loved the wines of Domaine de la Charbonnière, recent vintages are on another level, and I’d unquestionably put the domaine up with the crème de la crème of the appellation today. Run by the Maret family, with consulting advice from Philippe Cambie, Domaine de La Charbonnière produces four cuvées: the Tradition, Mourre des Perdrix, Vieilles Vignes, and the Les Hautes Brusquières. The traditional cuvée comes from all the estate’s holdings and is typically a blend of 70% Grenache and 15% each of Syrah and Mourvèdre. It’s mostly destemmed and brought up in older barrels and stainless steel. It’s certain a terrific introduction into the style of the estate. The Mourre des Perdrix comes from more sandy soils just behind the estate and is the same blend as the classic cuvée. This cuvée is always the most seamless and elegant in the lineup. The Vieilles Vignes comes from the oldest vines of the estate and the pebbly soils of the La Crau lieu-dit. Based on 95% Grenache or more, with the balance Mourvèdre, it’s always the most structured, tannic, and masculine of the three special cuvées. Lastly, the Les Hautes Brusquières comes from the Brusquières plateau in the northern portion of the appellation and is a 60/40 split of Grenache and Syrah that’s destemmed and aged in a mix of foudre and barrels. This cuvée is generally the most opulent and full-bodied in the lineup (no doubt due to its large Syrah component), and while approachable in its youth, it’s capable of keeping for upward of two decades.