Domaine de la Solitude Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cornelia Constanza 2019
Elegant and refined wine, tannic while remaining velvety. Expressive nose of gooseberry and Garrigues. Palate perfectly expressing the purity of the grape variety Grenache, on the background of cocoa, cardamom and Sichuan pepper.
This wine, still in its youth, will be paired with red meats such as a nice, slightly matured beef but also, for example, a lamb tagine with apricots, duck breast with cherries, then with a dozen years a stew Provençal.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
This is a beauty with gently mulled raspberry and boysenberry fruit flavors gliding along and laced with licorice, floral, garrigue and incense notes. Lovely swirl of black tea through the finish as the fruit lingers. Offers a very solid, underlying structure too. Best from 2024.
My top pick among this estate's 2019s is the all-Grenache 2019 Chateauneuf du Pape Cornelia Constanza, a cuvée drawn from 100-year-old vines planted in a sandy sector of La Crau and matured in roughly equal parts tank, foudre and previously used barriques. It bursts from the glass in bold floral notes, entwined with herbal, tea-like nuances, ripe berries and licorice. Full-bodied, richly concentrated and silky in texture, it finishes with terrific length and intensity. It shows no sign of its considerable alcohol, which likely exceeds the labeled 15%. Tasted twice (once blind), with consistent notes. Best after 2023. Rating: 95+
In the 1980s, brothers Michel and Jean Lançon took the future of Domaine de la Solitude in their hands, focusing attention on the vineyards. Fertilizers have not been used at Solitude for the past ten years. Over the past several years, Michel’s son Florent Lançon has been taking over the day-to-day operations of Domaine de la Solitude, continuing to make improvements while preserving the traditions of his father and uncle. The Estate is a contiguous 100 acres, planted to 86 acres of red grapes and 14.8 acres of white grapes, with vines averaging 50 years of age.
Driven by the desire to produce the best possible wines while still respecting the traditions of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and their lineage, in 1999, Michel and Jean decided to introduce four prestige cuvées and added Cuvée Barberini Rouge, Cuvée Barberini Blanc, Réserve Secrète, and Cornelia Constanza to the winery’s production.
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.
Grenache thrives in any warm, Mediterranean climate where ample sunlight allows its clusters to achieve full phenolic ripeness. While Grenache's birthplace is Spain (there called Garnacha), today it is more recognized as the key player in the red blends of the Southern Rhône, namely Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Côtes du Rhône and its villages. Somm Secret—The Italian island of Sardinia produces bold, rustic, single varietal Grenache (there called Cannonau). California, Washington and Australia have achieved found success with Grenache, both flying solo and in blends.