|Grapes||Mourvèdre, Grenache, Syrah, Counoise|
|Other||Bio-dynamic, Practicing Organic|
|Village||Châteauneuf du Pape|
A blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah, the 2018 Chateauneuf du Pape Habemus Papam boasts intriguing aromas of garrigue, fennel, roses and purple raspberries. It's medium to full-bodied and silky in texture, striking a fine structural balance between delicacy and tensile strength, with a long, mouthwatering, licorice-tinged finish. Drinking range: 2020 - 2030 Rating: 93 Joe Czerwinski, www.robertparker.com (Oct 2020)
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My favorite in the lineup, the 2018 Châteauneuf Du Pape Habemus Papam plays in the more full-bodied, powerful end of the spectrum, showing a smoking good core of ripe red and blue fruits, roasted garrigue, toasted spices, violets, and earth-like aromas and flavors. With plenty of mid-palate depth, an expansive, rounded texture, and a great finish, this sexy 2018 can be enjoyed any time over the coming 10 to 15 years. As with all the 2018s from this estate, the texture as well as the balance are spot-on. Drinking range: 2020 - 2035 Rating: 95 Jeb Dunnuck, www.jebdunnuck.com (Jun 2020)
A papal wine that draws its power and confidence from the soil of different vineyards situated in the north, east and the centre of the appellation. Fine sands, red clay and sandstone, contribute to the overall picture, especially the vineyards called 'Le Pradel' and 'La Font du Pape'. The translation of the Provencal name of the latter location refers to relatively humid soils on which Syrah, or its ancestor, the Sérine, expresses with particular freshness. The traditional blending of different vineyards and historical grape varieties of the region, Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Counoise, finds its raison d’être in the elegance and harmony of the wines it produces. Varieties : 64% of old Grenache vines, 25% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, 1% Counoise. Vinification : Hand picked and sorted, whole bunch fermentation with punching down for gentle extraction. Ageing : 18 months in recent casks and terracotta jars. Soils : Sandy clay and safre soils (Les Saintes Vierges, Le Pradel). Ancient alluvial and molassic sands (La Font du Pape).Winemaker's notes (Jan 2021)
Domaine Santa Duc
The name of Domaine Santa Duc has been at the pinnacle of wine in Gigondas since the mid 80’s when, under the firm guidance of the irrepressible and charismatic Yves Gras, they gained international recognition and high scores from wine critics. They have, for some time, been a reference point for quality and style, from one of the most consistently brilliant Crus in the Southern Rhone.
The future of the domaine is now in the very capable hands of Yves' son Benjamin, who becomes the 6th generation of the family to head up the estate. To borrow from Matt Walls ‘Yves Gras and his son Benjamin are very different characters. Yves has the air of a retired East End enforcer but Benjamin is bookish and jovial’. It would appear from our recent tastings that the estate is in safe hands. Having a respectable CV that boasts stages at Domaine de la Romanée Conti and Vega Sicilia, and visits to nearly every wine producing country in the world, he bring fresh views and ideas, whilst respecting the traditions of his father's work and the past.
The entire 30 hectare estate is now biodynamically farmed and certified, with an emphasis on total respect for nature in the vineyard. They comprise a patchwork of prime vineyard sites in Gigondas totalling 13 hectares, including two brilliant lieux-dits, Les Hautes Garrigues & Clos Derriere Vieille, that bring out the very best expression of Grenache, Syrah & Mourvedre. There is also 6 hectares of prized parcels in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, that have gained high praise in a short space of time. The balance is spread across Vacqueyras and Cotes du Rhone. Nearly all the vines are trained goblet, with a program of massal selection ongoing to ensure healthy vines from older rootstocks.
The wine making philosophy, like so many now, is as little intervention as possible. Stainless steel fermentation, with a proportion of stems and a short maceration followed by ageing in a mixture of large foudres and terracotta amphorae. The wines are fresh, elegant, pure, dark fruited and long lived although approachable in their youth too. Be in no doubt, these are some of the best wines being made in the southern Rhone.
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