Reviews of selected M. Chapoutier wines by Jeb Dunnuck in Wine Advocate issue 227.
2014 M. Chapoutier Châteauneuf du Pape Barbe Rac
The 600-case 2014 Châteauneuf du Pape Barbe Rac (100% Grenache) is one of the wines of the vintage and offers shocking levels of concentration and mid-palate depth to go with classic notes of black currants, dried earth, leather and graphite. It lacks the concentration and depth of the 2015, but is one serious 2014 that has ample tannin and over a decade of longevity.
2014 M. Chapoutier Châteauneuf du Pape Croix de Bois
Another smoking good 2014 is the 2014 Châteauneuf du Pape Croix de Bois, which like always, is 100% Grenache that comes from a site on the eastern side of the appellation, near the village of Bédarrides. Completely destemmed and aged 16 months in concrete, it offers the expected forward, fruity style of the cuvée as well as classic notes Bing cherries, blackberries, spring flowers and hints of leather.
2015 M. Chapoutier Châteauneuf du Pape Croix de Bois
The 2015 Châteauneuf du Pape Croix de Bois possesses a more fruit forward and exuberant character compared to the Barbe Rac and dishes out tons of blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, violets and spice characteristics. Beautifully pure and fresh on the palate, with full-bodied richness, building, sweet tannin and blockbuster length, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this be the best vintage for this cuvée to date. While I’ve always preferred the Barbe Rac cuvée in the past, the quality of the Croix de Bois cuvée continues to soar, and today I find these two wines – while very different in style – generally equal in terms of overall quality.
2015 M. Chapoutier Châteauneuf du Pape La Bernardine
The entry-level Châteauneuf du Pape release is the 2015 Châteauneuf du Pape La Bernardine, which is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre that was completely destemmed and will be brought up all in concrete tanks. This ruby/purple colored beauty gives up lots of black raspberry, garrigue and floral aromas and flavors to go with a medium to full-bodied, impressively concentrated, impeccably balanced profile on the palate. It’s another 2015 that might be a best to date, and it will shine right out of the gate.
2015 M. Chapoutier Gigondas
The Grenache-dominated 2015 Gigondas reveals a healthy ruby/purple color and a beautiful spice-driven bouquet of sweet red and black fruits, dried flowers and incense. It’s incredibly elegant, has medium to full-bodied richness, sweet tannin and a great finish, all of which suggest it will drink nicely in its youth, yet also evolve for upwards of a decade.
2015 M. Chapoutier Luberon La Ciboise Blanc
Another beauty, the 2015 Luberon La Ciboise Blanc is a mix of Grenache Blanc, Vermentino, Roussanne and Clairette that spent five months, sur lies, in stainless steel tanks. It offers lots of sappy herbs, citrus blossom and a touch of spring flowers in its deliciously fresh, balanced and clean style. It will be a great meal starter over the coming year or so.
2015 M. Chapoutier Luberon La Ciboise
The value priced 2015 Luberon La Ciboise comes from a cooler appellation on the eastern side of the Rhône River and is a mix of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan that’s brought up all in concrete tanks. This peppery, medium-bodied, juicy, and even elegant beauty offers a perfumed bouquet of black and blue fruits, crushed violets and cracked pepper. Drink it over the coming couple of years.