Château de Beaucastel is not only the top estate in the southern Rhône, but for decades it has been one of the top domains in all of Europe. But since 2000, a relative newcomer has been hot on the Perrin family’s tail. In the spectacular 2012 vintage, Christophe Sabon drew a line in the sand of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, crafting just 430 cases of a “Vieilles Vignes” that ranks among the three or four most intensely concentrated, modernistic Châteauneuf-du-Papes of the last decade. 96 points from BOTH Wine Spectator and Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. Released at $121/bottle. Just $79 this morning on WineAccess — the lowest delivered price in America. 240 bottles are up for grabs.
In 1967, Aimé Sabon returned from military service and took over his father's 15 hectares of vines. After establishing himself as one of the most meticulous growers in the southern Rhône, Sabon built a new cellar and, in 1973, he cautiously took the plunge. Unlike his father, Aimé Sabon would not be perfectly content to sell his grapes at harvest to the highest bidder, instead bottling just a few thousand bottles of estate-grown Châteauneuf-du-Pape at Domaine de La Janasse.
Little by little, Sabon increased production, reinvested profits, and began looking for new opportunities. But as he’d soon learn, acquiring old-vine parcels in Châteauneuf requires plenty of patience. Over the next 20 years, Domaine de La Janasse would expand to 15 hectares in Châteauneuf-du-Pape — albeit split up over 15 distinct parcels!
With vines scattered across the region, the Sabons spent nearly as much time in seat of a tractor traveling from holding to holding as they did hand-tending ancient, head-trained bush plants. In 1990, the family bottled its first “Vieilles Vignes” cuvée, largely drawn from the now-priceless La Crau district of the appellation. Twenty-two years later, Christophe Sabon, Aimé’s super-talented son, crafted a magnificent old-vine blend that brought The Wine Advocate to its knees.
As Robert Parker’s publication put it: “In case you haven’t been following any of the Wine Advocate reports over the past decade, Domaine de La Janasse, under the leadership of siblings Christophe and Isabelle Sabon, is one of the top two or three estates in the Southern Rhône.”
Both The Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator published rave 96-point reviews about one of the truly monumental Châteauneuf-du-Papes of the last decade.
The 2012 Domaine de La Janasse Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes is drawn from 90-year-old-vine Grenache (85%), Mourvèdre (10%), and Syrah (5%). Dark ruby-purple to the rim. Voluptuous aromatically, featuring a classic mix of crushed black raspberry, black cherry, black olive, garrigue, and thyme, with terrific, almost saline minerality. Big, bold, and palate-staining in the attack, velour-like in texture, filled with fine layers of black- and red-fruit preserves, finishing with surprisingly nervy acidity given the extreme opulence of the vintage.
$121 on release. $79 this morning — as if discounting even matters for this rare collectable from Christophe Sabon. 240 bottles are up for grabs. STRICT limit of 6 per member.
Absolutely fantastic. Popped cork and poured first glass. Décantered rest of bottle. Started out slow on first glass but took my time and took 30 mins to drink and by the the time I got to end of glass was great. The rest of the evening just got better. Would buy more if available. Drink second bottle over two days. Left in bottle and the second night as good as the first bottle. Thanks.
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