A much more powerful wine based on 60% Grenache and 40% Mourvedre, the 2020 Châteauneuf Du Pape Deus-Ex Machina reminds me slightly of the 2011 with its spicy, perfumed, complex bouquet of red and black fruits, dried flowers, pepper, and Provençal herbs, with more gamey, meaty notes emerging with time in the glass. Full-bodied on the palate, it's balanced, has ultra-fine yet building tannins, no hard edges, and a great finish. It needs a solid 4-5 years of bottle age and should have 20+ of overall longevity.jd
Boasts bitter plum raspberry and black cherry reduction notes that have a lively savory garrigue streak while grippy-edged tar tobacco and ganache notes pepper the finish. Muscular and dense but the cut is there and the fruit core takes a late encore for good measure. Grenache and Mourvèdre. Best from 2025 through 2040. ?J.M.
A blend of 60% Grenache (matured in concrete) and 40% Mourvèdre (matured in new oak) the 2020 Chateauneuf du Pape Deus Ex Machina features toasty vanilla-stained aromas of black cherries plums and licorice. Full-bodied richly concentrated and tannic yet lively and long this intense long-lived beauty finishes long with lingering subtle echoes of dark chocolate. In both 2022 and 2023 I had a chance to sit and taste with Vincent Maurel and his nephew Valentin who recently completed his enological studies. The opportunity to compare and contrast the 2020 and 2021 vintages at this benchmark estate makes for compelling "work." Other members of the next generation are expected to join the business in the next several years with Vincent's son Hugo currently studying enology in Spain and his niece (Valentin's sister) Claire studying commerce. The future of this family estate of 48 hectares seems secure although as Vincent points out "The estate which arrived from my father grandfather and great-grandfather is not a cash machine." All of the various cuvées that emerge from the modern cellar in the village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape are consistently excellent but the Maurel family seems to excel in difficult vintages. Perhaps it was just the different behaviors of the vintages post-bottling but I actually preferred the fragrance and perfumes of the 2021s at this domaine. Vincent Maurel described the year as marked by frost then being relatively cool and rainy resulting in more elegant softer wines. Most of the estate wasn't damaged by the frost (only about 10% according to Vincent) so it was a question of spraying regularly and staying on top of mildew pressure much like in 2018 or 2011. He seemed to prefer the 2020s saying "I love this year because all the different elements are in their place. The right balance you have the structure you have the maturity but you also have the freshness." Quantities of the 2022s will be very limited and some cuvées may not be bottled as much of the family's holding are in la Crau which was heavily impacted by the hailstorm that swept across that portion of the appellation on August 14. Fans may therefore want to buy up ample stocks of the 2020s and 2021s reviewed here. Published: Oct 12 2023