2007 Perrin & Fils Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Sinards
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RP 92 points
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The Vines of Chateau de Beaucastel Beaucastel's Mourvedre and Chateauneuf's "Greatest Vintage in 30 Years"

Robert Parker first began cellar hopping in the southern Rhone in the late 1970s. Over the following decades, The Wine Advocate became the torchbearer for the region, drawing global attention to the voluptuous concentration of the lavish blends put out by the top cellars of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and its satellites.

So, on the eve of the release of the 2007s -- a phenomenally long, dry growing season that brought clusters to levels of physiological maturity never before seen by the growers of Courthezon -- when Parker punctuated his exhaustive vintage coverage with: "This is greatest vintage I've seen in the southern Rhone in 30 years," the scramble was on. In a matter of months, most of the top addresses of the appellation sold off their uber-scored reds with historic velocity.

For the most part, Parker's early prognostication was correct. Albeit with one caveat. Indeed, the 2007s were explosively concentrated, marvelously silken and supple -- a product of perfectly brown seeds and correspondingly ripe tannins. Out of the gate, these massive, wild berry powerhouses were a hedonist's delight -- wines that could have been slurped from the barrel with a straw. But, as we would soon learn from an enologist friend who analyzed more than half of all the wines of the vintage in his local wine lab, all that ripeness came at a price.

The Grenache and Syrah, both stunningly rich, were short on acid. The pH of most of the Grenache ended up between 3.8 and 4.0. The Syrahs would come in at 4.0-4.2. While dazzling in their youth, those blends made entirely from Syrah and Grenache would likely fail the test of time.

The secret weapon of 2007 -- accounting for all the truly monumental wines of Parker's dream harvest -- would be Mourvedre. This sensationally aromatic variety is not only lower in pH, but displays an almost reductive quality that helps wines fend off oxidation, locking them in for the long haul. Sophisticated collectors, aware of the true makeup of the vintage, quickly searched out estates with plenty of Mourvedre in the mix. Their first stop, of course, would be famed Chateau de Beaucastel.

In 2007, the estate Parker has long called not only one of the region's finest -- but one of the greatest in Europe -- had a field day. The Perrin family has long championed the importance of Mourvedre in the region, fully cognizant of the combo of aromatic fireworks and dusty backbone the variety imparts. When we asked that same enologist, of the hundreds of bottles of Chateauneuf he tasted and analyzed from 2007, which wine was the most remarkable, he didn't miss a beat. The Perrin family's "Hommage," he told us, "isn't just the greatest 2007, it's the most unique Chateauneuf-du-Pape I've examined in a decade." Parker concurred.

A whopping 60% Mourvedre, largely grown on the bizarre galets roules moonscape of Beaucastel, the 2007 "Hommage de Jacques Perrin" combined exquisite concentration with ethereal mineral complexity. Parker dished out a perfect 100 points. Collectors, who were quick to pull the trigger, got in on the cheap at $300/bottle. Today, if they need turn "Hommage" into cash, they can flip those bottles for a cool $750!

But, the Perrins didn't put all of their priceless 2007 Mourvedre into "Hommage." The estate's other two Chateauneufs would also be treated to healthy doses. The 96pt Beaucastel regular bottling was a lavish, red fruit powerhouse that went for $75/bottle on release -- and will now set you back $150 on the secondary market.

However, for the most savvy 2007 bargain hunters, it would be the third Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape that would a provide a riveting look at this electrifying vintage without putting a dent in college savings plans. The Perrins' Chateauneuf-du-Pape "Sinards," drawn from 20-45 year old estate-grown vines, would come in just a rung below the extravagant 96-pointer -- and would be cut of much the same cloth.

Parker wouldn't hold back, piling on 92 points, suggesting that this fabulously rich, raspberry liqueur, Mourvedre-infused beauty would hit full stride some time in 2019. The bottle that both cut the fat and raised the volume on the duck confit last Tuesday night at Bouchon suggested that Parker may have underestimated the 2007 Sinard's long distance potential.

Tasting Notes

2007 Perrin & Fils Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Sinards
"The Chateauneuf du Pape Les Sinards completes a very impressive line-up. Dense ruby, with licorice, sweet cherry, and lavender notes, this full-bodied, admirably concentrated wine can be drunk now or over the next 10-12 years."
92 points -- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate

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