2007 Xavier Vignon Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Expert Rating
RP 94 points
(Read the full review below)
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Top-Rated Wine Advocate Chateauneufs from RP's "Vintage of his Lifetime"
Wine Rating Retail Price
Beaucastel Hommage A Jacques Perrin 100 $600
Xavier Vignon Cuvee Anonyme 96 $90
Les Cailloux Cuvee Centenaire 96 $200
La Janasse 95 $60
Roger Sabon Cuvee Prestige 95 $85
Xavier Vignon Chateauneuf du Pape 94 $65
Clos Saint-Jean 94 $80
Charbonniere Cuvee Vieilles Vignes 94 $125
Roger Perrin Reserve des Vieilles Vignes 93 $75
Rayas Pignan 93 $200
Jesse James and Parker's Vintage of his LIfetime

On October 15, Robert Parker's vintage report hit the web. It began like this:

"Last year, after tasting the 2007 southern Rhônes, especially the top wines from Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Côtes du Rhône, and the most hallowed appellation of the south, Châteauneuf du Pape, I stated it was 'the vintage of a lifetime.' I also suggested it was a hypothetical blend of a very hot yet opulent, powerful, sumptuous year such as 1990 and a cooler, drought and Mistral-affected vintage such as 2001. Tasting the 2007s out of bottle has confirmed my thoughts -- this is a truly historic and profoundly great vintage."

With winegrowers from Napa Valley to Pauillac staring down the barrel of the gun of the global recession, The Wine Advocate lit a fire under Chateauneuf-du-Pape. One Parker paragraph would send importers scrambling. The most highly-rated wines of 2007 would be sucked out of Courthezon's cellars in a nanosecond.

Importers who arrived late for the party would be shut out. Others who had been following the voluptuous 2007s out of cask since the spring of 2008, would make off like bandits, locking into allocations well before The Wine Advocate chimed in. In the case of Parker's newest and brightest winemaking star, WineAccess galloped out of Chateauneuf-du-Pape like Frank and Jesse James.

Three months ago, we attended a blind tasting in the city that featured many of Parker's greatest hits. The Perrin's Beaucastel would be in attendance. As was Christophe Sabon's 2007 La Janasse. Sylvie Vacheron's superb Clos du Caillou made a cameo, just before a dozen other Chateauneuf-du-Pape celebrities made their way down the runway.

When the bottles were disrobed, the #1 wine came as no surprise. Comprised of 100% old-vine Mourvedre, the 2007 Beaucastel "Hommage de Jacques Perrin" ranks among the most stunning Chateauneuf-du-Papes in a half-dozen decades. Parker came in at a perfect 100 points, pushing prices on the auction market to nearly $600/bottle! But, both the #2 and #6 finishers were authored by Parker's youngest superstar of the appellation. Just as he had in The Wine Advocate report in that historic October report, enologist Xavier Vignon took the house down!

Vignon's 2007 Chateauneuf-du-Pape is cut from much the same cloth as Beaucastel. Comprised of fifty percent 90-year-old vine Grenache, and perhaps more importantly, a hefty 30% dollop of ancient-vine Mourvedre, Parker spoke of "stunning power, opulence, body, richness and purity" -- none of which was lost on the tasting panel in the city.

In the spring of 2009, we first dined with Xavier and Isabelle Vignon at their home in the hills above Le Barroux. Madame Vignon's blanquette de veau was paired with this mesmerizing old-vine 2007 Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Robert Parker had yet to come calling. Nor had the importers who would helplessly shower Xavier with purchase orders as soon as they read Parker's 94pt review.

We arrived in Le Barroux early. We left late, like bandits in the night. Just like the James boys.

Tasting Notes

2007 Xavier Vignon Chateauneuf-du-Pape
"The 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre and the rest Syrah, Cinsault, Vaccaresecarese and Counoise. The Grenache comes from 90-year-old vines, the Mourvedre from 75-year-old vines, and the rest from vines of at least 25 years of age. The Grenache is aged in tank and the Syrah and Mourvedre are kept in small oak casks. The 2007, which tips the scales at 15% alcohol, exhibits an extraordinary bouquet of garrigue, smoked meats, black cherries, blackberries, licorice and Asian soy. With stunning power, opulence, body, richness and purity, this brilliant Chateauneuf du Pape will age effortlessly for 15+ years."
94 points -- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate


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