Grape varieties:Old vines - 50% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 20% Syrah and other 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).
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: Northern part of the appellation – The oldest vines from parcels of rolled stones (“galets”), sand and red clay. The deep roots bring an enormous complexity of terroir 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 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: 5 to 25 years
Reviews: JD 96 pts, RP 94 pts
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.
Shipping costs are calculated per box of 6 bottles. Each box can contain a mixed selection of wines.
Jeb Dunnuck (JD)
2018 vintage (96 points): Up with the crème de la crème of the vintage, the 2018 Châteauneuf Du Pape Vieilles Vignes is a bigger, richer wine than the Les Origines cuvée and has a beautiful core of smoked black fruits, candied violets, peppery garrigue, and scorched earth-like aromas and flavors. Playing in the medium to full-bodied end of the spectrum, it’s flawlessly balanced and has terrific tannins, a stacked mid-palate, and a great finish. It certainly shows the more front end-loaded, fleshy, mildly concentrated style of the 2018 vintage, yet the balance is top-notch, and it’s just a thrill to drink today. It should evolve nicely for 10-15 years.
2017 vintage (97 points): The 2017 Châteauneuf Du Pape Vieilles Vignes is a bigger, richer, more opulent wine. Beautiful notes of blackcurrants, scorched earth, graphite, and crushed violets, all flow to a full-bodied, Châteauneuf Du Pape that has a voluptuous, sexy texture, brilliant depth of fruit, fine tannins, and a purity of fruit that’s hard to find in this vintage. It’s a thrill a minute, and while it’s approachable today, it will keep for 15-20 years.
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (RP)
2018 vintage (94 points): Cedary and spicy upfront, it’s an excellent wine – full-bodied, plush and velvety – but the fact that the oak shows so prominently perhaps indicates a slight weakness in the underlying raspberry and black cherry fruit. It’s still an excellent wine, just oakier than I’d prefer. Hold it another year or two and see if the fruit makes a comeback and the oak recedes, then drink this over the next decade or so.
2017 vintage (96 points): As usual, the Vieilles Vignes takes things to another level. The 2017 Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes—a blend of 45% each Grenache (aged in concrete) and Mourvèdre (aged in new barriques), plus 10% Syrah (also in new wood)—features intense aromas of purple raspberries, black cherries and plums, plus the merest hints of vanilla and baking spices. Full-bodied, lush and creamy on the palate, it somehow remains balanced and fresh, with tremendous length on the finish. Tasted twice (once blind), with consistent notes.
The Jaume siblings of Sébastien, Christophe and Hèlène are the 6th generation of a winegrowing family which had previously only sold grapes and wine in bulk. Their father Alain Jaume created Domaine Grand Veneur in 1976 to age and bottle the wines under their own label and the Domaine has now achieved a worldwide reputation.
The estate cultivates 90ha (225 acres) of vineyards: 6 ha in AOP Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 28 ha in Lirac “Clos de Sixte”, 10 ha in Vacqueyras “Château Mazane” and 36 ha in Côtes de Rhône.
The estate vineyards have been certified Organic (“Agriculture Biologique”) since 2012.
The vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape are located in two separate areas at the northern edge of the appellation. The “Miocene” red cuveé is grown on a raised plateau of large rounded rocks (“galets”) and sand, whilst the “Les Origines” red cuveé is grown on a plateau of galets, red clay and sand, just next to Beaucastel. The”Vieilles Vignes” red cuveé is made from the oldest vines across both terroir.
The Châteauneuf-du-Pape white cuveés are grown from parcels sloping north from the raised plateau. The cooler aspect aids freshness in the wines.
The estate also runs a negotiant business purchasing selected grapes and wine from wine growing partners in Tavel, Gigondas, Rasteau, Cairanne, Vacqueyras (separate from the estate-owned “Château Mazane”), Lirac (separate from the estate-owned “Clos de Sixte”), Ventoux and Châteauneuf-du-Pape (separate from the estate-owned Domaine Grand Veneur). These wines are labelled “Alain Jaume” and do not display the Domaine name.