In the southern Rhone, there are traditionalists and modernists, the latter led by the winemaking magic of Philippe Cambie, a winemaker Robert Parker called "the Michel Rolland of the Rhone." Of all Cambie's success stories (the list is long, including a number of 100 point wines), few rival the impact Cambie had on the estates of the Brechet family in Chateauneuf and Gigondas.
The Brechet family's wines are beautiful -- rich and ripe, full of finesse, concentration and aromatic complexity -- pure Cambie. The Brechets had always had one of the best sights in Chateauneuf, nestled into the sloping terraces and rolling hills at the base of the Mount Redon Plateau, but adding Cambie to the mix was the best decision they could have made.
When the Brechets first brought Cambie on board, the reception wasn't exactly warm and fuzzy. True to form, Cambie took one look at the way the estate was farmed and laid down the ground rules: cut yields back, push yourselves to the limit of organic farming practices as quickly as possible... or find another consultant.
It wasn't an easy choice. Cambie's suggestions were expensive and if the market didn't cooperate, the Brechets would be left holding the bag. The Brechet family took some time to make a decision, but when they did, they went all in -- and we are pretty sure with no regrets.
The 2006 Chateau de Vaudieu Chateauneuf du Pape Val de Dieu is delicious -- particularly with roasted lamb shanks -- like so many of the top estates' tete-de-cuvees in 2006. It has great concentration, lots of muscle, the new wood melting into lush purple fruit. Deep, rich and structured the 2006 is less flashy than the 2007, but more dense and chunky with a higher percentage of Syrah and Mourvedre than the regular bottling. This is a beauty that Parker says will still be coming on in 2023! -- But who really wants to wait that long?
Chateau de Vaudieu
"A blend of 50% Grenache, 37% Syrah, and 13% Mourvedre, the superb 2006 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Val de Dieu is very Provencal, offering notes of tapenade, truffles, lavender, grilled root vegetables, and copious quantities of sexy black cherry and blackberry fruit. An intriguing hint of charcoal/smoke also emerges from this full-bodied, rich, long, velvety-textured wine. It should drink well for 12-15 years."
92 points--Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate