2011 Tardieu-Laurent Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes
Expert Rating
ST 91-93 points
(Read the full review below)
 
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Michel Tardieu 2011 Tardieu-Laurent Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes

While in his late 20s, Michel Tardieu landed a job as a chauffeur for a public official. He spent most of his days behind the wheel of a Citroën sedan, taking his passenger from meeting to meeting throughout the Rhône Valley. As French ministers have a penchant for three-hour, 5-course lunches, Tardieu took full advantage — spending a couple weekday afternoons per week cellar-hopping between Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Hermitage.

Within a few years, Michel Tardieu's knowledge of the Rhône Valley was deemed encyclopedic by more than one winegrower. Then, in 1996, Tardieu, smitten by the wine bug, hung up his chauffeur's hat, determined to begin making his own wine. Shortly thereafter, Tardieu caught a break when he was introduced to the affable Dominique Laurent, whose story much resembled Tardieu's.

Laurent is a big, cheerful man who was first a master pâtissier before turning his attention to Burgundy. Dominique had grown tired of the bakery's 4 a.m. wakeup calls and decided it was time for a change. As the story goes, Laurent sought out the owners of some of the most prized parcels in the Côte de Nuits, paying top dollar for a ton or two of Premier Cru or Grand Cru Pinot Noir. His first wines in 1993 were exquisite, showing off tremendous complexity, balance and elegance, immediately wowing both Robert Parker and Stephen Tanzer.

At the tasting table, the chauffeur and the pâtissier spoke the same language: Concentration was important; balance was essential. It wouldn't be long before Tardieu-Laurent was formed, with Tardieu adopting Laurent's Grand Cru protocol in the southern Rhône.

In the superb 2011 growing season that would give birth to elegant and complex Châteauneuf-du-Papes of exquisite richness and balance, Michel Tardieu turned out one of the most intoxicating ancient vine bottles of the year.

Deepest ruby/black to the edge, infused with dark aromas of black currant, black raspberry, kirsch and sweet spice. The attack is voluminous and plush, a mix of luscious red- and black-fruit preserves, anise and wild strawberry, all bracketed by superb, firm acid backbone. Drinking beautifully on release, but like all of Tardieu's top wines, one of the top Châteauneuf-du-Papes of the 2011 vintage will continue to put on weight and add complexity over the next 10-15 years.



Tasting Notes

2011 Tardieu-Laurent Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes
"(made from 90% grenache and 10% mourvedre): Inky ruby. Intensely perfumed scents of cherry-cola, blackberry, and Asian spices. Weighty but focused dark fruit preserve flavors show striking clarity and palate-staining concentration, with silky tannins sneaking in on the back end. Balances richness and vivacity deftly, with impressive finishing energy and length."
91-93 points -- Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar

"Deepest ruby/black to the edge, infused with dark aromas of black currant, black raspberry, kirsch and sweet spice. The attack is voluminous and plush, a mix of luscious red- and black-fruit preserves, anise and wild strawberry, all bracketed by superb, firm acid backbone. Drinking beautifully on release, but like all of Tardieu's top wines, one of the top Châteauneuf-du-Papes of the 2011 vintage will continue to put on weight and add complexity over the next 10-15 years."
-- WineAccess Travel Log

 

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