“a massive, thick, unctuous beauty that’s almost overflowing with notes of dark fruits, blackberries, truffle, chocolate and crushed rock… lively and fresh, with building tannin, a stacked mid-palate and a big finish.”
In the summer of 2013, we spent an afternoon with Xavier Vignon in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Lunch outside Vignon’s new winery was simple enough. We were treated to grilled quail with plenty of roasted peppers, zucchini, and onion. Classic Provençal fare. But when it came to the libations, all notions of simplicity were forgotten. We only visit Xavier once a year and the enologist was determined to make the most of it.
First came a vertical lineup of Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blancs, beginning in 2010. Then a handful of old-vine reds drawn from the rugged moonscapes of Gigondas and Vacqueyras. All of these selections were reminders of wines we’ve tasted before — sumptuous, beautifully structured reds that seem locked in suspended animation. But Xavier saved the best for last.
Xavier had already treated our membership to three vintages of his stunning, 95- to 96-point Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Anonyme. But as we’d learn over lunch, Xavier had been quietly tinkering with a far more ambitious project — a wildly complex, multi-vintage blend that garnered one of the most ecstatic 96-point reviews in the 35-year history of Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.
In the fall of 2013, Vignon released what would quickly become one of Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s greatest cult wines of the last decade. La Réserve VII IX X, a masterful assemblage of the finest barrels from three extraordinary vintages in the southern Rhône: 2007, 2009 and 2010. Hours after Robert Parker’s 96-point rating hit the web, every bottle of La Réserve VII IX X was allocated, fueled by a review that called the modernistic powerhouse “an hedonistic and decadent release that dishes out massive amounts of black raspberry, raspberry, spice cake, licorice and crushed flower like nuances on the nose.” It became, in the last days of December, the 2013 WineAccess Wine of the Year.
Four years later, Xavier Vignon did it again. The same multi-vintage experiment, only with recent vintages, including the heavily anticipated 2015. The assemblage contains the finest barrels from Robert Parker and Wine Spectator’s classic, 98-point 2010 vintage; the voluptuous and ultra-concentrated 2012 vintage; and 2015, what Wine Spectator has apprised “to be the best vintage since 2010, in a decidedly more powerful style.”
If La Réserve VII IX X is plush, tremendously concentrated, silken in texture, with an endless finish and worthy of two decades of cellaring, La Réserve X XII XV is its more muscular younger sibling. Before awarding 95+ points, Robert Parker Wine Advocate described X XII XV as “a massive, thick, unctuous beauty that’s almost overflowing with notes of dark fruits, blackberries, truffle, chocolate and crushed rock… lively and fresh, with building tannin, a stacked mid-palate and a big finish.”
95+ points. $100 on release. Just $50/bottle today for WineAccess’s Wine of the Year for 2016. What are you waiting for?
Very good. Hope it gets even better with age
Absolutely my favorite Ch. du Pape. This wine is still young, but if you decant it for a few hours before drinking the full complexity and richness of the vintage blending shows through. The nose is a wonderful mixture of earth, mineral and dark fruit, and the taste is a wonderful, slowly developing mixture of blackberry, blueberry and minerals that goes on and on. I love to sip on this very slowly, after spend 10 minutes or so just enjoying the nose.
Delightful aroma. Some interesting hints buried under the acidity. Perhaps a few years will help it. Even with decanting it was unpleasant to go on drinking. I have usualy been disappointed with Vignon but was seduced by your review of this one.
We noticed that the credit card number you entered matches one of your saved credit cards. We’ve updated your saved card with the new information.