100 / 100 by Robert Parker Only the second vintage of this cuvée ever to be produced (the other is 2007), the 2016 Chateauneuf ... Read moreOnly the second vintage of this cuvée ever to be produced (the other is 2007), the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape XXL is about 75% Grenache, with the rest a mix of permitted varieties. It incorporates "a lot" of whole clusters and matured in demi-muid. It was bottled in May but will likely only be released in November, says Christophe Sabon. Classy aromas of crushed stone, pencil shavings and baking spices start it off on a terrific note, while ripe raspberries and stone fruit unfold on the full-bodied palate. Contrary to the implications of its name, this wine boasts incredible finesse, elegance and length and is in fact more impressive for those qualities than its overall size, power and richness. It will certainly open a few eyes.
Although I showed up considerably late for my appointment with the brother-sister team of Christophe and Isabelle Sabon, Christophe wore his customary, irrepressible smile. The French soccer team was ahead in their World Cup match, and he was showing off the domaine's stellar 2016s. "It's my father's 50th harvest," he said. "And he thinks it's the best. It's incredible because you have power, finesse and acidity." Interestingly, the Sabons are planting Grenache Gris and Clairette Rose for possible inclusion in red wines, which Christophe said he hopes will add some freshness to Grenache. Worth noting is that the family also owns Clos St Antonin (tasted on this visit but written up under its own heading).
[ Source: 238, The Wine Advocate ] Collapse Text