Still in foudre working through the last few grams of sugar when I tasted it in July 2022 the 2020 Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes showcases bold black-cherry fruit that virtually knocked this taster's head backwards. It's full-bodied on the palate building in intensity and complexity on the lengthy finish where notes of raspberries star anise and garrigue merge seamlessly into the wine's supple velvety texture. The 2021 and 2022 vintages were not kind to Domaine de Marcoux. In 2021 said Sophie Armenier volumes were down about 50% because of frost in their vines in the southern sector. While the white grapes (mainly Roussanne) were harvested under decent conditions they measured 80 millimeters of rain on September 15 a couple of smaller rains and then 100 millimeters on October 3 which effectively ended their harvest. Despite the difficulties Sophie's son Vincent Estevenin who has been working alongside his mother at the domaine for the past several years said "It's a nice vintage very different from past years but good. I like the tannins?you can drink the wine young and enjoy it later." In 2022 the vines were affected by drought and a couple of episodes of hail. Fortunately the hail occurred in June and was followed by dry breezy weather so affected berries dried up and fell off without adversely impacting wine quality just volume. Armenier pointed out that their Côtes du Rhône was less impacted by the dry weather as the parcel is quite water-retentive. "It's why those vines were originally left out of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation." Farmed organically and certified as such since the early 1990s with the addition of certain biodynamic practices this is an excellent family-run domaine especially notable for its Vieilles Vignes bottling which comes from the lieux-dits of Les Esquierons and Charbonnières. More affordable bottlings?still worked organically?come from the family's property in Lirac and the aforementioned Côtes du Rhône. The 2021 harvest had just finished when I arrived at Domaine Marcoux on the afternoon of October 2nd. I was greeted by Vincent Estevenin and his mother Sophie Armenier. It was a relatively late vintage punctuated by occasional rainfalls so they were relieved to be done picking. The family's vineyards have been certified organic since 1991?among the first in the region. They work according to biodynamic principles but have never been certified in that regard. Altogether the family farms approximately 18 hectares in Chateauneuf du Pape divided among seven lieux-dits plus eight hectares in Lirac and a bit of Côtes du Rhône. Oak use is minimal and the wines are typically marked by plentiful garrigue notes. For value shrewd consumers should reach for the Côtes du Rhône and Lirac bottlings which can come close in quality to the blended Chateauneuf. The Vieilles Vignes is often in another quality realm altogether but it's priced accordingly and produced in small quantities?there are just 3900 bottles of the stupendous 2019 Cha^teauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes. Visiting the estate allowed the opportunity to sample a couple of older vintages: 2011 and 2001 on their 10th and 20th anniversaries respectively. Collectors holding these wines should consider drinking them over the next few years although it may already be too late for the regular 2001 Cha^teauneuf du Pape. Tasted out of magnum both of the Vieilles Vignes bottlings are still drinking well but there is no reason to wait any longer. Even though Sophie's sister (Catherine who spent the bulk of her time in the vines) retired in 2019 it appears the future of this family-run estate remains secure for the moment as Vincent takes on more and more responsibility without any noticeable drop in quality. Published: Oct 12 2023
A towering effort the 2020 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes soars from the glass with pristine crème de cassis raspberry jam black plum scorched earth incense mint exotic spice and white pepper aromas. The precision of the individual perfumes has a laser-like quality rarely seen in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Full-bodied and framed by ever-so-velvety tannins it reaches a spherical dimension in the mouth. The recent adoption of 3000-liter Austrian oak barrels beautifully contributed to the shape of this wine giving it terrific pois
Impressive depth of colour for the vintage, this is extremely round, fresh, clear and well-defined. Tannins are present and fairly strict in style, but they're ripe, and all in all this is exceptionally promising. Not huge in fruit or body, but well-balanced and precise. from 120-year-old vines planted on north-facing clay and sand lieux-dits of Charbonnières and Esquières. Fermented in concrete, aged in foudre.
One of the world?s greatest expressions of Grenache year-in and year-out the 2020 Châteauneuf Du Pape Vieilles Vignes is all varietal that was brought up in larger foudre. This cuvée comes from the Charbonnieres and Les Esqueirons lieux-dits which are mostly more sandy soils. Its deeper purple color is followed by a concentrated medium to full-bodied powerful yet elegant Grenache offering ripe cherry and darker berry fruits notes of ground pepper garrigue and licorice ripe yet certainly present tannins and a great finish. Reminding me slightly of the 2006 which is drinking brilliantly today it?s going to offer incredible pleasure over its lengthy life. Give bottles 2-3 years and enjoy over the following two decades.
This has power and concentration to the graphite- and smoke-edged black fig and currant flavors with a steely mineral undercurrent and charred aniseed. In spite of the decadent fruit profile this has a nice framework and lovely salinity driving freshness and impressive length. A blockbuster red with staying power. Best from 2024 through 2035. ?K.B.