Clos Saint-Jean Vieilles Vignes Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2009
The 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes reveals supple tannins, a velvety texture, good opulence and low acidity. The wine is full-bodied, less intense in the mid-palate than the 2010, and already complex and evolved. It can be drunk now or cellared for 12-15+ years. If a prize were given to the Rhone Valley estate that had improved the most in the shortest period of time, it would undoubtedly go to that of Pascal and Vincent Maurel, who took over Clos Saint-Jean after their father passed away in 2002. Since then, they have made a succession of world-class wines that are out of this world. One of the largest estates in Chateauneuf du Pape, Clos Saint-Jean has an amazing number of old vine parcels in its 112+ acres (significant holdings in La Crau, in the eastern part of the appellation). No doubt the hiring of renowned oenologist Philippe Cambie has also increased the quality of these offerings. The 2010 Clos Saint-Jean Chateauneuf du Papes are phenomenal wines. The Maurel brothers believe they are as profound as the 2007s, and it is hard to disagree. Production is down considerably because of the loss of 25-30% of the Grenache crop due to poor flowering, but the levels of concentration, freshness and focus of these wines are remarkable. Moreover, the 2009s from bottle performed at the upper end of the ranges I had given them last year – always a sign of a terrific winery dedicated to high quality.
Bright ruby. Ripe blackberry and cherry on the nose, with dark chocolate and licorice adding complexity. Deep, spice-accented cherry liqueur and bitter chocolate flavors are enlivened by a note of singed orange. Becomes brighter with air and finishes with excellent clarity, thrust and bite.
Features perfumy aromatics, but still a bit tight, with an iron-bound core of cassis, raspberry and blackberry fruit, backed by graphite and black tea notes on the racy finish. Should unwind with modest cellaring. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Vaccarèse. Best from 2012 through 2021. 1,011 cases made