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Domaine de la Charbonnière

Châteauneuf-du-Pape – Cuvée Vieilles Vignes 2019 / 2017 / 2013 / 2011

50.4053.20

Very ripe black cherry fruit with pepper and touches of pepper on the nose. Full-bodied with delightful elegant finely grained tannins right through to the finish. It has all that lovely pure fruit that one should expect from very old Grenache vines. The Mourvedre brings some lovely meaty notes when the wine is young. Incredible finish. A classy wine that will get better and better over a 15 year period, maybe even longer.

Style: Red

Grape varieties:90% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre

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Red Wine Grape Varieties

Southern Rhône wines are almost always blended around Grenache to bring balance, complexity and richness of aroma to the wines. Thirteen varietals are permitted. The main varieties are:

Grenache – Medium ruby colour and high alcohol. Delightfully fruity (red fruits) in youth, spice: prune notes with age. Medium dry tannins that soften with age.

Syrah – Deep colour with purple shades. Very tight but velvety tannins giving good ageing potential. Violet and/ or black fruit aromas. With age the aromas evolves towards wild aromas of leather, truffle, and towards liquorice

Mourvèdre – Dark brick red, high tannin brings additional ageing quality to the blend. Sometimes animal notes in its youth become fruity (dark berries, leather, undergrowth, pine, liquorice) and spicy with age.

Cinsault – High proportion in Rosé. Elegant, fruity aromas, light colour and tannin (in reds).

White Wine Grape Varieties

Grenache Blanc – Low acidity giving smoothness and length on the palate with floral aromas and notes of apple and pear.

Clairette – Brings acidity and freshness to the blend. Floral, complex aromas of rose and acacia with notes of white peach and exotic fruit.

Roussanne – Brings finesse and delicacy and a great deal of elegance. Good acidity in the northern Rhône enabling the wine to age well. Complex aromas of honeysuckle with touches of apricot, hawthorn or narcissus.

Bourboulenc – Brings good acidity to the blend. Floral aromas.

Marsanne – Medium acidity, with high aromatic potential in young wines. Complex and subtle floral aromas of acacia, dried fruit and nuts (almond, hazelnut, walnut).

Viognier – Medium colour with low acidity and very fruity (pear) in the Southern Rhône. In the Northern Rhône, it brings suppleness and smoothness. Great aromatic potential – acacia, honeysuckle, violet, almond blossom, linden, and with age, musk, honey and dried apricot.

Terroir: Grenache comes from a plot of hundred-year-old vines on clay-sandy soil located in the vineyard called "La Crau" and since 2017 one plot from "Coudoulet". Mourvèdres come from the "Cristia" lieu-dit.

Oak: Light

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Oak Flavours

The vast majority of wines in the Southern Rhône are aged in neutral tanks such as concrete and stainless steel in order to preserve the delightful fruity characteristics of Grenache. Where oak is used, it is often only used for a proportion of the blend. The majority of wines in the Northern Rhône however, are aged in oak.

The amount of oak flavour in the wine depends on:

  • The size of the barrel – Less surface area in contact with the wine = less oak flavour
  • The age of the barrel – Less oak is imparted in each subsequent wine.
  • The level of charring (“toast”) and type of oak used by the cooper

The following classifications are used for wines listed on this website:

No Oak – The wine is aged in neutral vats or large, old oak barrels that impart no oak flavours. These wines will be fruit-forward and bright in their early years.

Light Oak – Oak flavours are present but do not dominate the wine when young. The wine may only be partly aged in smaller oak barrels and/or the barrels may have been used for one to three prior wines.

Prominent Oak – Oak flavour is a noticeable feature of the wine, particularly when young. Oak also imparts oak tannins into the wine which can increase the ageing potential of the wine, thus allowing the wine to develop complex aromas over many years.

Drinking time: 4 to 15 years

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Drinking Time

The majority of everyday wines are produced to be drunk within a year, or two of their vintage date. Fine wines that demonstrate a balanced acidity and good tannin structure have the ability to be aged over many years. Oak flavours and red wine tannins soften with age, which allow more complex aromas to develop. Deciding when to drink a fine wine is very much a matter of personal taste. You should drink the wine earlier in its life if you prefer its fruity (“primary”) aromas, accepting that tannins and any oak flavours will be more prominent when the wine is young.

Reviews: 2019: JD 97, JS 95 pts // 2017: JD 92-94, JS 96, RP 97 Pts. Details below

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Reviews

The ratings of leading reviewers are listed here with their written comments detailed at the bottom of the page.

Remember that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Each wine reviewer has personal tastes and, as hard as they try, preferences can be reflected in the numerical score a reviewer gives to a wine. This is why is important to read their comments rather than judge a wine by its numerical score.

JR = Jancis Robinson. Score out of 20 points.
RP = Robert Parker, Wine Advocate. Score out of 100 points.
JD = Jeb Dunnuck. Score out of 100 points.
WS = Wine Spectator. Score out of 100 points.
W&S = Wine and Sprits. Score out of 100 points.
WE = Wine Enthusiast. Score out of 100 points.
VM = Vinous Media. Score out of 100 points.
JS= James Suckling. Score out of 100 points.

Clear

Shipping costs are calculated per box of 6 bottles. Each box can contain a mixed selection of wines.

Jeb Dunnuck (JD)

2019 vintage (97 points): he 2019 Châteauneuf Du Pape Cuvée Vieilles Vignes (90% Grenache and 10% Mourvèdre) comes all from the stony, pebbly soils of La Crau and was brought up in tank and demi-muids. Ripe black cherry fruits, iodine, ground pepper, and bloody, meaty nuances all emerge on the nose, and it’s full-bodied, with a seamless, multi-dimensional texture, ultra-fine tannins, and a rock star of a finish. It’s just a brilliant, elegant, pure, lengthy wine that does everything right. Drink this classic, traditional, structured wine over the coming two decades. While I’ve always loved the wines of Domaine de la Charbonnière, recent vintages are on another level, and I’d unquestionably put the domaine up with the crème de la crème of the appellation today. Run by the Maret family, with consulting advice from Philippe Cambie, Domaine de La Charbonnière produces four cuvées: the Tradition, Mourre des Perdrix, Vieilles Vignes, and the Les Hautes Brusquières. The Vieilles Vignes comes from the oldest vines of the estate and the pebbly soils of the La Crau lieu-dit. Based on 95% Grenache or more, with the balance Mourvèdre, it’s always the most structured, tannic, and masculine of the three special cuvées.

 

James Suckling (JS)

2019 vintage (96 points): Although this is still a bit closed, the pomegranate and sour-cherry aromas are delightful and the hints of coffee, tobacco leaf and cigar box add complexity. Rich and concentrated, but very focused. Huge tannin structure, but beautifully crafted and the wine glides over your palate. Long, youthful finish. From the La Crau site, this is a blend of grenache from 70-year-old vines and mourvedre. Drinkable now, but best from 2024.

The domaine is now run by the fourth generation of the Maret family, Veronique and Caroline. The original vineyards were purchased in 1912 by Eugene Maret as a gift for his wife. The estate was enlarged by their son, Fernand and his son, Michel was the first to produce wine in 1973. The estate includes 19ha in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 6ha in Vacqueyras and 2ha of Côtes du Rhône.

 

The terroir of Châteauneuf-du-Pape includes two large plots of quite distinct terroir which produce two quite different cuvées, “Mourre des Pedrix” (sandy soils) and “Les Hautes Brusquières” (stoney soils). The main Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Cuvée Domaine” is produced from a blend of many small, plots of varying terroir in the north east of the appellation. The Vacqueyras wine is grown on a stoney, clay plateau. The majority of the wines are fermented and aged in very “foudres” (large oak casks)..

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