Robert Parker 97
While I’ve always loved the 2003 Chateauneuf du Pape, it was extremely controversial in its youth due to its exuberance and ripeness. Yet today, with the wine at maturity, all of that controversy has been put to bed and I know of no one contesting the beauty of this wine – the 2007 vintage in Chateauneuf du Pape will be the same. Looking at the 2003 vintage, Paul-Vincent told me that they started harvest on September 5, but quickly had to stop due to rain on the September 7. They waited for the vineyards to dry out and the last plots weren’t brought in until October 4! As to the wine, this beautiful 2003 offers a kaleidoscope of kirsch liqueur, Asian spices, ground herbs, blackberries and incense. Full-bodied, textured, ripe and plush, Avril commented that this would evolve similar to the ’89, but I certainly see no need to delay gratification here and would drink up while the getting’s good!
Anticipated maturity: 2015-2020
Deep red color. Positively explosive aromas of fresh cherry, redcurrant, blackberry and candied licorice ("the most kirsch I’ve ever found in a wine," says Avril). Huge and mouthfilling, with serious weight but also excellent purity to the lush, powerful fruit. Deeply pitched dark chocolate and espresso add even more heft to the flavors, and roasted herbs contribute lift. For all of these elements, the wine is elegant, finishing with outstanding energy and focus.