The 2009 Xavier Chateauneuf-du-Pape "Anonyme" is an assemblage of equal parts of 70- to 100-year-old-vine Grenache, Mourvedre, Counoise, plumped up with juicy Syrah. Parker went gaga, describing "copious notes of licorice, garrigue, underbrush, blackberries, black currants and graphite are present in this full-bodied, modern-styled, fragrant, distinctive Chateauneuf," before piling on with that 96pt score -- two more than Beaucastel.
It's been a rough summer. The vast majority of you have been understanding. Some, not so much. So before we offer the last 33 cases and 7 bottles of Robert Parker's only 96-point UNDER-$40 Chateauneuf in years, we want to set the record straight.
Our daily stories often feature lengthy explanations of growing season drama, of flash storms and blistering heat, how inventive wine-growers deal with Nature's caprice, thus explaining why a wine tastes as it does. But, we spend little time speaking of our own climatic challenges, and how scorching summer temperatures wreak havoc with WineAccess logistics.
Particularly during winter and summer months, WineAccess coordinates shipments all over the country via temperature controlled trucks, sent directly from our west coast warehouse to your local hub. While there's never a risk on that leg of the journey, depending upon the temperature, the last leg can be treacherous, as the carrier's local delivery trucks, of course, are not temperature-controlled. Last winter, we were fortunate. But over the last months, we've had no such luck to certain locales.
Our logistics team -- charged with protecting the provenance of each WineAccess bottle -- was obliged to schedule, and sometimes reschedule, shipments in both the Midwest and South. While Member Services did its best to manage expectations, even Kate and Suzette couldn't appease everyone.
And as a result, many orders were canceled. All payments, of course, were promptly refunded by participating wineries and importers -- per our agreement with them. It was bad news all around. At least until today, when some of you will make off with the wines that were left behind. In this case, that wine would be one of Robert Parker's top-rated Chateauneufs from the sensational 2009 vintage -- and arguably the greatest under-$40 bargain in WineAccess history.
96 points – Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate