The newest cuvee, first made in 2005, is a 100% Grenache from 80+ year-old vines, the dark saturated ruby-hued 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape Cornelia Constanza. Aged 80% in tank and 20% in small wood barrels, it offers up aromas of pure kirsch liqueur, licorice, loamy soil, pepper, and spice. The incredibly intense and intoxicating bouquet is followed by a wine revealing plenty of structure and spice, fabulous concentration, and a full-bodied, layered mouthfeel. If you love Grenache, this superb, rich, exceptionally pure offering is a no-brainer. Give it 1-3 years of bottle age, and enjoy it over the following 20-25 years. Wine Advocate #185 Oct 2009
The powerful 2003 Chateauneuf du Pape comes closest in character to the 1990 (which is still drinking beautifully). Its dark ruby/plum/purple color is followed by sweet aromas of resiny pine forest interwoven with creme de cassis, black cherries, melted licorice, and smoky herbs. In the mouth, gamy, meaty flavors emerge along with black currants, cherries, and a hint of the sushi wrapper called nori. Full, rich, and moderately tannic, this 2003 requires another 1-3 years of bottle age, and should keep for 12-15 years.
The most structured of the Signature releases, the deep ruby/purple-colored 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape Signature (65% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre, 12% Syrah and the balance other permitted varieties) is still backward and tight. Giving up classic notes of black raspberries, black cherry, crushed rocks, pepper and garrigue, this full-bodied, concentrated, pure and fabulously textured red needs to be forgotten for another 2-3 years. It will have two decade of overall longevity. Special Report (Sep 2015), The Wine Advocate.
From another vintage that flies under the radar, yet always delivers tons of pleasure, the 2006 Chateauneuf du Pape Pure is less flamboyant than the 2005 and has more spice, ground herbs, pepper and licorice to go with a rocking core of sweet Grenache Fruit. It's full-bodied, structured and has a touch of dry tannin on the finish that I suspect will probably never completely integrate. Nevertheless, there's ample mid-palate depth and a tons of sweet fruit, which will keep anyone coming back to the glass. Special Report (Sep 2015), The Wine Advocate
I remember the 1998 La Vieille Julienne Cuvee Reserve as one of the remarkable wines of the vintage in its youth, but two bottles opened from my cellar were perplexing and have under-mined my confidence in where this wine might be heading. There was an oxidized (stale nuts) smell that is suggestive of fino Sherry in the wine. Both bottles had it, and while it did seem to subside with some aeration, and the wine is certainly full-bodied, powerful, and rich, there was a lack of definition and purity in the wine that raises cause for alarm. There was not much of it made, and recent vintages such as the 1999, 2000, and 2001 have been spectacular wines, about as good as Chateauneuf du Pape can be, so I just wonder if I was unlucky with the bottles I purchased, or if this is symptomatic of the wine itself. Wine Advocate #189 Jun 2010
Domaine Giraud (located in the Southern Rhone) is run by the brother/sister pair Marie and Francois Giraud, with Marie making the wines and Francois managing the vineyards. Created in 1974 by Pierre and Mireille Giraud, it wasn’t until 1998 that they bottled their first release (both a traditional Chateauneuf and a Cuvee Les Gallimardes). While some estates have a difficult transition from generation to generation, in this case, Pierre let Marie make the wines in 2001, and after tasting the results, quickly gave her full rein. In addition, Philippe Cambie lends his consulting advice here. The style certainly leans toward the hedonistic end of the spectrum, but the wines always have beautiful purity and classy, balanced profiles. For this tasting, we started with their Les Gallimardes cuvee and finished with the Les Grenache de Pierre. I’ve listed the wines in the order tasted. In addition to superb reds, they made a rock-solid white. Starting with the Les Gallimardes cuvee, this bottling comes all from the Les Galimardes lieu-dit that’s located in the southern, warmer portion of the appellation. The soils here are mostly rolled pebbles, and the vines are over 100 years in age. The wine is almost all Grenache (roughly 10% Syrah), completely destemmed (as of 1999) and has the Grenache aged all in tank and the Syrah all in smaller barrels. It’s always a rich, sexy and full-throttle effort, yet to me, it offers thrilling Chateauneuf du Pape character and is easily one of my favorite wines. Compared to the Les Grenache de Pierre release, the Les Gallimardes is more exuberant, overflowing and hedonistic. In addition, they implemented a stricter selection for this cuvee in 2005 and moved to using only their older vines. I think it shows, as current releases have additional depth, concentration and purity. Moving to their Grenaches de Pierre releases (which translates to “Grenache of their Grandfather”), this cuvee comes from 100-year-old vines planted in the sandy soils of the La Crau and Pignan lieux-dits. It’s made from 100% Grenache and aged almost completely in concrete tank. It’s always slightly more polished than the Les Gallimardes release and has beautiful complexity and purity, while not skimping on the textured or depth of fruit that’s present in all of Marie’s wines.
The 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Gallimardes (90% concrete-aged Grenache and 10% oak-aged Syrah) exhibits a dense purple color, full body, and a broodingly backward, unevolved personality. The most youthful and long term effort of this trio, unlike most 2007 Chateauneuf du Papes, it will benefit from 2-3 years of cellaring, and should offer 20-25 years of drinkability if kept in a cold cellar. Ethereal aromas of spring flowers, charcoal, black raspberries, and jammy black cherries are present in this formidably endowed 2007 that is just beginning to hint at its ultimate potential. Forget it for a few years and enjoy this elixir over the following 20 years.
WA, reviewed by Joe Czerwinski: The 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Reservee (scheduled to be bottled November 2017) is a very fine, elegant example of Châteauneuf du Pape. Garrigue and violet notes spring forth on the nose, followed by layers of spice, hints of leather and black cherry fruit. It feels lithe and delicate for a full-bodied wine, with a long, silky finish.Issue Date: 31st Oct 2017. Source: 233, The Wine Advocate.