Wine Reviews

Clefs des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2015

This is a delicious Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a region whose wines I taste infrequently.  From the 2015 vintage, the Clefs des Papes has aromas of savoury plums, stones and smoke.  The palate has great length and is moreish.  This is a great value CNP that is ready to drink now.  Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $50. Website: n/a.

Wine Reviews

Chapoutier La Bernardine Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2011

This is a smart Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Chapoutier.  The wine is a blend mostly of grenache, with some syrah and mourvedre included, but not influential.  It’s matured for 12 to 15 months mainly in concrete tanks.  Fruit driven in style, it has aromatics of leather, cherry and jam.  The palate takes on some complexity with a good decant, and reveals flavours of plum, spice and strawberry.  There’s some heat on the finish, as well as good length and interest.  An enjoyable wine.  Good to Very Good

Abv: not recorded, Price: $60, Vendors and website:, Tasted: 2015

Wine Reviews

Xavier Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2009

The appellation of Châteauneuf-du-Pape has seen some criticism directed towards it in recent times – the wines can be concentrated, dense and have high alcohols – attributes that have seen both favour and scorn metered out in equal measure.  Recently, Andrew Jefford noted in Issue 43 of The World of Fine Wine:

Châteauneuf is not in any sense a reasonable, classically proportioned wine.  Anyone who lives near Avignon through the summer and then winter will know that this is a land of extremes and excess, and it breeds grand, spectacular, entirely unreasonable and excessive wines that love to run away off the leash.”

This I think captures the debate and to an extent the region, although I would argue that what is reasonable and classically proportioned in wine needs to be guided by the climate and terroir of the region, which in Châteauneuf’s case is warm to hot and windy.  I remain untroubled by the flavour excesses of warmer climater viticultural regions, but nor do I desire them to the exclusion of cooler climate regions and styles.  A rare bird perhaps.

This particular wine from Xavier is a good one.  Their 2009 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a blend of 55% grenache, 35% mourvèdre and 10% syrah.  The wine has aromatics that remind of milk chocolate, blackberries from the top of the bush, earth, yeast and cherry pie.  The palate retains these aromatics with the addition of a sweet cherry note.  The wine achieves balance in the glass and there is medium length on the finish.  Ready to drink now, this is an approachable Châteauneuf-du-Pape that will reward your interest.

Abv: 14.5%, Price: $50s, Vendors:, Website:, Tasted: 2014
Wine Reviews

Domaine Marquis Ravardel Châteauneuf du Pape 2011

I didn’t spend a lot of time analysing this wine, finding it eminently gluggable at a barbeque with friends.  It’s a budget Châteauneuf-du-Pape that has aromatics of anise, plum and bitter almond.  The palate has chunky tannins and flavours reminding of plums, with the fruit a little extracted.  The wine achieves balance and an easy drinkability.  Good

Abv: 15%
Price: $25
Vendors: Check
Website: n/a
Region: Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Source: Google Maps 

Tasted: 2013
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