2015 Les Sables de la Crau Domaine Jean Royer

Grapes Grenache, Syrah
Colour Red
Origin France, Rhône
District Southern Rhône
Village Châteauneuf du Pape
ABV 15.5%

Vivid ruby-red. Intense, sharply focused red fruit liqueur, spicecake and floral scents are complicated by suggestions of smoky minerals and Asian spices. Sappy, penetrating and appealingly sweet, offering silky raspberry and lavender pastille flavors that put on weight and spread out steadily with air. Closes smooth, sweet and impressively long, displaying suave, fine-grained tannins and resonating florality. Rating: 92-94 Josh Raynolds, (Mar 2017)

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Floral and finesse-driven, the 2015 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Sables de La Crau is 100% Grenache from the sandy parts of the la Crau lieu-dit. It too is full-bodied, silky and polished, with terrific notes of strawberries, licorice, cherry jam and mint. Drink it over the coming decade. Rating: 91-93 Jeb Dunnuck - (Oct 2016)

La Crau. 100% Grenache. Partial whole-bunch fermentation in stainless steel. Aged for 12 months in demi-muids. pH 3.5, TA 3.5 g/l. Tasted blind. Transparent cherry red. Hint of coconut on the nose. Then lots of cherryade. Nothing too forced here and quite a streak of acidity. Drinking range: 2023 - 2030 Rating: 16.5 Jancis Robinson OBE MW - (Oct 2016)

Domaine Jean Royer

Jean-Marie Royer inherited his vines in 1985 and set about improving the grape varietal mix and the vinification from then. Since more than half of the domaine is in unclassified 'Vin de Table' or 'Côtes du Rhône', he has developed a marque 'Le Petit Roy' sold as 'Vin de Table' for everything that does not make it into the Châteauneuf cuvées. The Petit Roy has been a big hit in the shops.

His Châteauneufs are just gorgeous, and in the context of some of the Parkerised dottiness going on, offer refreshingly fantastic value for money. He has undoubtedly been much helped by his close friend the star oenologist Philippe Cambié, who he went to school with and also played rugby with for many years. Cambié is more famous for a full-on rather extracted style, but Jean-Marie has imposed his own, fresher, brighter style on all his wines, which are crunchy and well-defined.

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