Grape(s): 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and the rest Vaccarèse and Cinsault
Localization: Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone Valley, France
Tasting Notes: Really enticing, with succulent cherry and raspberry paste flavors taking the lead. Backed by anise, fruitcake and floral notes, this is dense but has inner brightness, as savory and iron details emerge through the finish. Lovely mouthfeel throughout.
100 Points - Jeb Dunnuck: Starting off a trio of truly magical wines, the 2019 Châteauneuf Du Pape La Combe Des Fous checks in as 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and the rest Vaccarèse and Cinsault raised in tank and demi-muids. Sensationally pure cassis and blackberry fruits as well as complex notes of lavender, Provençal garrigue, ground pepper, and flowers all define this full-bodied 2019, which displays the vintage’s ripe, perfumed style while bringing more finesse, elegant, and purity than just about every other wine out there. It’s the finest vintage of this cuvée I’ve tasted and has another 15-20 years of prime drinking ahead of it.
Notes: Combe des Fous literally means, the hill of the fool. The hill, in this case, is located in the far southern reach of Le Crau which was left barren for many centuries because the layer of galets was so exceedingly deep that everyone assumed vines could never survive there. The fool in this situation is Edmund Tacussel, the great-great-grandfather of Vincent and Pascal Maruel who planted a Grenache vineyard on this site in 1905. That old-vine Grenache forms the heart of this cuvée with a small amount of Syrah, Cinsault and Vaccarèse.
The Domain: The prestigious Clos Saint Jean is run by the fourth generation of the Tacussel/Maurel family - Vincent and Pascal Maurel - under the tutelage of renowned oenologist Philippe Cambie. Clos Saint-Jean is considered by critics, sommeliers, and consumers alike to be among the top properties of the Southern Rhone. Robert Parker comments, “The tasting of the five (2007) cuvees must rank among the greatest single tasting in the southern Rhone I have ever done in 30+ years of wine tasting. Last year I sensed something special was happening, and the bottled (2007) wines confirm that something rare had occurred in the vineyards and cellars of Clos Saint-Jean.” The estate now boasts four 100 point wines, sourced from their extraordinary old vine plots, including choice parcels in the famed La Crau district of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. The raw material for this wine is what is deemed at many domains suitable for their top-end cuvees, yet at Clos Saint-Jean, this is their classic bottling. This Cuvee “Vieilles Vignes” is produced from the oldest vines of the