Elite Chateauneuf Within Reach
Vincent Durieu is tall, thin, soft-spoken, and visibly happier walking in his vineyards than greeting customers in his caveau.
And walking in his vineyards isn’t all that easy, at least not for those inexperienced in balancing themselves on the shifting rocks that take the place of soil on all the hilltops in Châteauneuf du Pape.
“Well, there it is,” he’ll tell you, gesturing at the scrubby, ancient, head-pruned vines, and at the rocks, the sunshine . . . the whole thing. “It isn’t us that makes the wine; it’s this.”
And in fact hills like his DO stand out, even in a region where EVERY village gets more than its share of sun, where it never seems to rain, and where the same grape varieties are planted in virtually every vineyard that rises above the riverine silts.
Châteauneuf has the advantage of its limestone rocks (they’re called galets in French), which hold heat, do NOT hold water, and provide a constant refreshment of alkaline lime to the vines. And it has subsoils different from those found anywhere else around, soils that again hold very little water near the surface, but which do provide a limited but consistent supply 3-4 meters below the surface, where the long roots of old vines can find it.
Year in year out Châteauneuf du Pape has EASILY the highest average intensity and complexity of any of the southern Rhône’s appellations, and given the more variable weather in other parts of country, it probably has the highest average quality of ANY of France’s wines.
But every year is different, and the advantages some years offer are more useful than the ones offered by some others. 2012 is a year of immense PLEASURE in Châteauneuf.
It was a small year in terms of quantity. Like 2011 and 2013 there were problems during flowering in 2012, which meant fewer clusters and a smaller crop. And VERY dry weather through the summer further reduced the quantities produced, but led to VERY ripe fruit which was harvested in ideal conditions.
The 2012 Durieu Châteauneuf du Pape, like most other top 2012s, has silken tannins, low acid, and Californian levels of alcohol and fruit. It is a BOMB of authentic southern French PLEASURE, with a safe 5-10 year cellaring potential.
Many of world’s best reds have become prohibitively expensive over the last 20 years, but Châteauneuf has remained relatively reasonable. THIS Châteauneuf has remained easily within reach. It is a beautiful wine for important occasions.
Or maybe just for important people.
2012 Domaine Durieu Châteauneuf du Pape, reg. $39.99
ON SALE $99.99 a 3/pack
($33.33 a bottle when you buy 3+)
The price discount will be reflected after 3 bottles are added to your cart.