2011 Domaine de Ferrand Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Expert Rating
RP 92 points
(Read the full review below)
 
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Philippe Bravay Robert Parker's "Favorite" Artisanal Producer in the Southern Rhône

Our first introduction to the explosive old-vine reds of winemaker Philippe Bravay was in the summer of 2009 in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This was the coming-out party for the phenomenal class of 2007, a vintage Robert Parker would soon call the "greatest in thirty years." Nearly every top estate was well represented, from Beaucastel to Rayas, Pierre Usseglio to Domaine du Pegau.

On our scorecards, standing tall in a lineup that included a half-dozen $300+ bottles, was a 2007 from an estate we'd never heard anything about, let alone visited. Domaine de Ferrand was about to bring the Wine Advocate's house down. Released at just $60/bottle, Philippe Bravay's 2007 garnered a 98+ point review. If you want to pick up a bottle of that spellbinding 2007 today, be prepared to drop three times the release price on the after-market.

In the years that followed, we learned all about Philippe Bravay and his 5+ hectare estate, located in the Northern reaches of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation. Bravay's Châteauneuf, like Julien Barrot's Pure and Chateau Rayas, is drawn almost entirely from 100-year-old-vine, head-trained Grenache plants, yielding 2 tons per acre of succulent clusters in the most bountiful harvests. Up until the mid-90's, Ferrand's Grenache was purchased by the most prestigious négociants of the southern Rhône. But when Philippe returned to Châteauneuf-du-Pape in 1997, little by little he terminated the grape contracts. In 1997, he bottled his first blend, drawn entirely from vines planted between 1910 and 1930 in the blue-chip lieu-dits of Cabrières and La Gardiole.

In 2003, Robert Parker came calling. Over the following years, Domaine de Ferrand would become the Châteauneuf-du-Pape darling of the most influential wine critic the southern Rhône has ever known. Here are SIX YEARS of Wine Advocate clips, describing Bravay's phenomenally age-worthy Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the wine Parker believes to be one of the greatest bargains of the appellation:

"One of my favorite small artisanal southern Rhône estates is Philippe Bravay's Domaine de Ferrand." October 2012

"Philippe Bravay fashions some of the most singular and distinctive wines of Châteauneuf du Pape." October 2011

"Philippe Bravay continues to turn out sensational wines at his tiny, artisanal estate..." October 2010

"Philippe Bravay is one of the most modest and serious Châteauneuf du Pape vignerons..." October 2009

"I hope proprietor Philippe Bravay receives the recognition he deserves from Châteauneuf du Pape enthusiasts. Domaine de Ferrand has been a top performer over the last decade, and these are classic old style Châteauneufs that are meant to age." October 2008

"Philippe Bravay continues to turn out brilliant Châteauneuf-du-Pape, eschewing the current fashion of making old vine or single-vineyard cuvées." October 2007

The just-released 2011 Domaine de Ferrand is still another feather in Philippe Bravay's vigneron cap. Just 1,200 cases were made of this deep, dark ruby blend, comprised almost entirely of century-old Grenache. Wine Advocate again went gaga, calling this new release "A ripe, voluptuous wine that's loaded with sweet kirsch, plum, licorice and garrigue aromas and flavors … it's a gorgeous, naked expression of Grenache that delivers medium to full-bodied richness, no hard edges and a supple, downright sexy profile."



Tasting Notes

2011 Domaine de Ferrand Chateauneuf-du-Pape
"A ripe, voluptuous wine that’s loaded with sweet kirsch, plum, licorice and garrigue aromas and flavors, Bravay’s 2011 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a great example of the vintage. A field blend that’s close to 90% Grenache and aged all in tank (it sees no wood whatsoever), it’s a gorgeous, naked expression of Grenache that delivers medium to full-bodied richness, no hard edges and a supple, downright sexy profile. While it won’t make you run out and sell off your 2007s and 2010s, it’s a great wine meant for drinking over the coming 8-9 years. Drink now-2023."
92 points – Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate

 

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