1998 Les Cailloux (Lucien et Andre Brunel) Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Centenaire - 100 pts!
The 1998 Cuvee Centenaire is an awesome Chateauneuf du Pape. Made from extremely old vines, this is the essence of both Chateauneuf du Pape and the Grenache grape. The wine boasts a deep ruby/purple color as well as an extraordinary bouquet of melted, jammy black cherry, raspberry, and currant fruit mixed with pepper and spice box. In the mouth, it is rich, full-bodied, and unctuously-textured, with extraordinary purity, and laser-like definition for a wine of such massive concentration and depth. The finish lasts for nearly a minute. This spectacular, youthful, amazingly accessible offering is a tour de force in winemaking, and a tribute to just how great Chateauneuf du Pape can be. From this impeccably run estate, Andre Brunel produces 7,000 cases of a traditionally made regular Chateauneuf du Pape, and, when possible, about 500 cases of Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Centenaire. The Cuvee Centenaire emerges from 114-year old Grenache vines (about 80-85% of the blend), which is combined with younger-vine Syrah and Mourvedre. Approximately half of the blend spends time in new oak casks, and half in neutral foudres or vats. Brunel, who is one of the most articulate spokespersons of Chateauneuf du Pape, continues to fine tune his winemaking, always trying to enhance the fruit and texture. That has been apparent over recent vintages, although some of the old classics are not to be missed. RP