Chateau Fortia Cuvee du Baron Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2019
Intense ruby red color with purple reflections. The very first nose is very mineral: ink, schist. Then with aeration, all the dark fruitiness develops: ripe blackcurrant, cherry jam, bay leaf and Espelette pepper. The palate is remarkably balanced, with great density but elegant. The sweetness softens the tannic sensations, the mineral tension tightens the wine to infuse it with beautiful energy. The tannins are voluminous but very silky. Very persistent. Notes of black fruits, olive, and graphite at the end.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Stylish and ripe, with a racy beam of graphite and acidity holding ripe cherry and raspberry coulis flavors aloft. Reveals red tea, lavender and wet earth on the palate, with vanilla and cedar accents bringing warmth. Though tasty now, this has chalky tannins that guarantee a long life in bottle. Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Drink now through 2038.
The 2019 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee du Baron includes a higher proportion of Syrah than the regular cuvée, being a blend of 50% Grenache, 35% Syrah and 15% Mourvèdre. The estate considers Syrah something of specialty, and this does appear to have a bit more substance to it, delivering ripe black cherry and allspice flavors. Full-bodied, rich and velvety, it finishes with ample length. Best after 2023. Barrel Sample: 90-92
Famous for its full-bodied, seductive and spicy reds with flavor and aroma characteristics reminiscent of black cherry, baked raspberry, garrigue, olive tapenade, lavender and baking spice, Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the leading sub-appellation of the southern Rhône River Valley. Large pebbles resembling river rocks, called "galets" in French, dominate most of the terrain. The stones hold heat and reflect it back up to the low-lying gobelet-trained vines. Though the galets are typical, they are not prominent in every vineyard. Chateau Rayas is the most obvious deviation with very sandy soil.
According to law, eighteen grape varieties are allowed in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and most wines are blends of some mix of these. For reds, Grenache is the star player with Mourvedre and Syrah coming typically second. Others used include Cinsault, Counoise and occasionally Muscardin, Vaccarèse, Picquepoul Noir and Terret Noir.
Only about 6-7% of wine from Châteauneuf-du-Pape is white wine. Blends and single-varietal bottlings are typically based on the soft and floral Grenache Blanc but Clairette, Bourboulenc and Roussanne are grown with some significance.
The wine of Chateauneuf-du-Pape takes its name from the relocation of the papal court to Avignon. The lore says that after moving in 1309, Pope Clément V (after whom Chateau Pape-Clément in Pessac-Léognan is named) ordered that vines were planted. But it was actually his successor, John XXII, who established the vineyards. The name however, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, translated as "the pope's new castle," didn’t really stick until the 19th century.
With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre form the base of the classic Rhône Red Blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. Though they originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley, with some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in other countries. Somm Secret—Putting their own local spin on the Rhône Red Blend, those from Priorat often include Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.