For years, the Grangeons, owners of one of the most perfectly placed estates in Chateauneuf, sold their grapes to Guigal and Chapoutier. When a property like Domaine de Cristia sits on Chateauneuf's Rodeo Drive-- almost next door to Chateauneuf's most heralded cult estate, Chateau Rayas-- grapes fetch a premium. But by 2000, young Baptiste Grangeon convinced his parents to take the plunge, making wine from their old-vine, sand soil plantings-- a recipe not only for concentration but for the ultimate in Chateauneuf elegance.
It took a couple of years to get their sea legs, but finally, in 2005, the Grangeons came out with a handful of bottlings that had the whole village buzzing. By 2006, they were in full swing, as demonstrated by this balanced, pure, and immediately accessible Chateauneuf-du-Pape. At this special spot in Chateauneuf, the sand soil infuses old-vine Grenache with a special spicy vibrancy. This sensual 2006 is an object lesson in the power of the sand.
The wine is deep ruby to purple in color, with a sweet nose of black cherries. Then on the palate, it's round, rich, full, and opulent, with notes of spicy red and dark fruits. There are nice tannins throughout, with a medium finish.
This will pair wonderfully with a hearty fall or winter meal like a lamb and lentil stew. The spicy character of the wine should be able to stand up to the spice in the stew, as long as you take it easy.