Posts Tagged ‘Chateauneuf-du-Pape’

Mont-Redon :Chateauneuf

There is an instant impulse to grab the big rocks as we drive into Chateau Mont-Redon or better still be photographed with these big gibbers. I did.

We are travelling into the southern Rhone to visit the land of mouth-embracing warm area reds in Chateauneuf du Pape (CNDP).

And our host is a jovial fellow, Pierre Fabre who travels the world to discuss the family business at Chateau Mont-Redon.

Now these gibbers; well this is the soil these guys are dealt. Walk up closer and I am relieved to say there is sand between the rocks where these old vines (no trellis) grow as bushes. There is no water supply save a deep root system to survive the blistering summer.

Big gibbers-old bush vines

Big gibbers-old bush vines

Some vineyards have these big pebbles, others are chalky known as calcare here for limestone. The mother rock comes from ancient sea deposits going down up to 200 m in parts, it depended on the sea depth, adding more clay; the pebbles were the river bed; once wider and of European Alps origin; now only the big rocks are left.

Old sea bed vines- Rhone Alps backdrop

Old sea bed vines- Rhone Alps backdrop

There are three large appellations in France: Saint Emilion with 5000 hectares, Chablis with 4000 ha, then  Chateauneuf du Pape with 3200 ha. It tracks one side of the Rhone River for 200 km and at a maximum only 20 km wide. Thirteen grapes are grown.

Mont-Redon started life in 1923 with 2 ha, and now has grown to 150 ha, including a 1997 purchase in Lirac nearby. This is the home of grenache, a special yet thin skinned grape which needs hanging late to ripen, and any late summer rain is disastrous though rare.

Chateauneuf is known mainly for blended red production from grenache, syrah and mourvedre though white is 5% of the surface. Mont-Redon make 15% of their production white, from blends of grenache blanc (main variety), clairette, roussanne, picpoul and the latter bourboulenc for acidity.

Significant exporters like this company receives a greater demand for white wine styles as countries like Australia and USA are big white wine consumers. They are a fullsome drink.

I just loved the Chateau Mont-Redon Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2012 (AUD ); lots of lovely bits to enjoy, sniff the aroma, it smells of the earth of the region, little flowers, spicy-black pepper grenache notes, all yummy and not a sip taken! Has lots of depth, velvet tannins that slip around the mouth, a great spice warmth; 95% is the grenache-syrah-mourvedre mix with 5% of old school varieties left in the older vineyard which are inter-planted.

Mont-Redon 2012

Mont-Redon 2012

Pierre could not resist being a good host so he opened some older bottles of the famous wine; 2007 and 2005 CNDP, both nice and rounded harvests to really enjoy.

Chateau Mont-Redon  Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2007 looks classic; more reds than purples, wine in harmony with itself; this bottle has not left the property, nose sweetened from an improvement in the bottle; nice brioche, honey-raisin, then an expanding palate of puckering spice, jam notes and the pleasant experience. Served unlabelled but easily identified.

Mont-Redon 2007

Mont-Redon 2007

Uncorked’s travel guests visit Chateau Mont-Redon winery and vineyard in the Southern Rhone on the France Wine and Food Tour, and get to have their pic taken amongst the gibbers.

Stoney terroir: Usseglio in Chateauneuf

The day was cool although it was spring-meaning greenness everywhere and wide-leaved grapevines were growing rapidly. I was eager and excited to visit the historic Chateauneuf-du-Pape again, especially as a greater respect had been developed for the vine variety grenache, and here in this village appellation is one of the most notable producing regions on earth. Better still, with a healthy interest in Italian wine production also, we were to visit a Milanese family who have migrated to this part of France a long time ago, and has now woven themselves into its vineyards and wine styles-the Usseglios. The best means to understand a domaine producer is to try the entry level wines first-as the attention to detail will give many hints about what to expect. Here the first impressions were all good and there will be many wines to be enjoyed. Usseglio Cotes du Rhone 2010; 13.5%; AUD 25 is going to be one fabulous wine just by smelling it; a cracking nose of ripe berries greets the nostrils; it has lush fruits and just great intensity; drink now and drink many. I further discovered it is a grenache (80%), mourvedre (20%) blend from 65, 40 and 30 yo grenache, and 30 yo mourvedre. A humble wine made from resilient vines. This wine does not need oak aromas and that is kept away from the prying by using 2, 3 and 5 yo large barrels and some lined cement tanks. Usseglio Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2009; 15%; AUD 60 is masterful; bursting with berryfruit, tons of it; luscious, layered, filling, asking for more in the mouth, drying yes, but softly so-no aggression despite its alcohol! Then there is the 2010 of the same wine; less brutal, little earthiness showing through, very trite, firming and never to be the bruising wine of 2009.

Great Chateauneuf-du-Pape

This property’s blend of Chateauneuf  is grenache (80%), syrah (5%), mourvedre (5%) and cinsaut (5%) as the vineyards are planted.  There is no new oak used (which blesses it), 50% is in cuves (tanks), 30% in foudres (larger oak, 3-5000 litres) and 20% in barrels; oak is 1-3 years old. Usseglio Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee de mon Aieul 2009; 15.5%; AUD 99 is a special blend of older vine grenache from three vineyards; Les Serres (95 yo); La Crau (78 yo) and La Guigasse (70 yo); it means ancestors’ cuvees, extremely minty from concentration; fleshy, lots of black fruits, something I could drink all day. Also tasted was 2010-15.5%; a monster too, simply the coolest grenache I tasted all year.

A special blend-Cuvee de mon Aieul (ancestors’ drink)

Usseglio Chateauneuf-du-Papes Reserve des 2 Freres 2009; 15%; AUD 150 is a dalliance with more modern winemaking, New World style, so there is a little more new oak around; though its bigger fruit, sweet fruited palate is as one could find in Australia’s Barossa valley where juicy grenache hangs out; and in this there is a small amount of syrah; differs from the standard blends but eminently a flag bearer in a New York cafe for brothers’ wine.

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