Skalli Grand Vin du Rhone
2008 'La Tiare du Pape' Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Red Blend •Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC
France: Rhône Valley
What We Say
VERTICAL WINE ALERT:
For the last four years, The Wine Spies have had the pleasure of featuring each vintage of this delicious Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Like its previous bottlings, the 2008 vintage delivers great aromas, flavors and character – exactly what you’d expect from a top notch Rhone.
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Mission Codename: Return Of The Crown
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Secure an exclusive allocation of Skalli Grand Vin du Rhone’s (Mason Bouaachon) latest Châteauneuf-du-Pape for our operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Skalli Grand Vin du Rhone (Mason Bouachon)
Wine Subject: 2007 La Tiare du Pape Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Winemaker: Christian Abry
Backgrounder: For three years running, we have been fortunate to have showcased successive vintages of today’s delicious wine. The wines were so well-loved, that we issued an annual Wine Spies Intrigue Award, making the 2006 vintage our Operative’s Choice, Top International Selection. Today, we are proud to bring you the latest vintage, the fantastic 2008 La Tiare du Pape Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape (CDP) is among this spy’s favorite Rhone wines. With each wine being a distinct blend of up to 13 different varietals (usually lead off with Grenache, France’s work-horse grape, with the trend leading to more Syrah and Mourvedre based blends). The name Châteauneuf-du-Pape dates back to the 14th century during the time of the dual papacy.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape comes in two distinct styles, the more traditional ’Old World’ (like this one) are dark, rich and spicy with firm tannins that lend these wines to cellaring; and the more contemporary fruit-forward style more reminiscent of New World wines.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Brilliant and deep ruby red with a dark ruby heart that glistens when held to the light. The deep color extends to the very edge and when swirled, randomly spaced thin legs ring the side of the glass.
Smell – Classic old-world character with layers of restrained red and black fruit that blend with soft earthy undertones, anise and both dried and fresh green herbs and a touch of hot and exotic spice; all framed by a present but not overbearing toasted oak.
Feel – Smooth and textured on entry, this dry full-bodied wine has finely grained and both soft but sturdy tannins spreading over the palate as the vibrant acidity, softly etched minerals and spice adds to the sturdy but elegant structure.
Taste – Tangy and tart red and black cherry, plump and dried plum and blackberry fruit are framed by toasted and spicy oak and hot and exotic spice. Dried green herbs, earthy undertones, anise and toasted nutty hints adds depth and complexity.
Finish – Long to finish, with the red and black fruit lingering over the spice and oak notes as hints of cherry pit and spice invite another sip.
Conclusion – The 2007 Skalli Grand Vin du Rhone La Tiare du Pape Châteauneuf-du-Pape is classically Rhone in character, old world on the nose, palate and in flavor with a elegant feel and while restrained in its fruit, not so much that you’re left wondering. Perhaps youthful if enjoyed now, so decant or let it breathe as you pair it with classic southern French cuisine such as Merguez sausage or herb crusted roast chicken. Also a nice wine to pair with aged cheeses. Cellar for the next five years.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Skalli Grand Vin du Rhone in Châteauneuf-du-Pape can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
When the papacy relocated to Avignon in the 14th Century, they did much to promote viticulture in the surrounding areas. John XXII erected the famous castle that overlooks the village and the wines of this area became known as "Vin du Pape.” This cuvée is named “La Tiare du Pape” – the pope crown’s – in honor of this noble history.
About This Wine:
Ruby colour with violet tints. Aromas of black berries, cherry and plum with under notes of wood. The attack is frank, mixing beauty and structure with notes of dry fruit (almond, nut). Rich and subtle tannins give fullness to this elegant and complex wine.
Vintage: Conditions for the 2008 vintage were capricious and chaotic. The warm damp weather in May and June made the vines grow amazingly fast and vigorously. This kind of weather requires the utmost vigilance and cultivation methods tailored to keep the grapes healthy. Summer was cool with several rainy spells which helped the grapes to reach full ripeness gradually. The wines of the 2008 vintage are fresh, elegant and well-balanced, with soft rounded tannins and beautifully expressive aromas due to fairly high acidity for the region.
Vineyard Soil: Several kilometers to the north of Avignon, on the rocky, sun-scorched hills and terraces swept by the Mistral, is the famous vineyard of Châteauneuf du Pape. The soil is made of clay and limestone mixed with quartz round stones. The Alpine diluvium (quartz stones) have a heat-regulating effect: they store up the heat of the day and return it during the night, creating a well-known furnace effect.
Grape Varieties: On this terrain, the 13 appellation grape varieties take on a specific maturity, giving the wines their mineral and stewed fruit flavors. From the different authorized grape varieties, 3 principle varieties are present: Grenache (60%); Syrah (30%); and Mourvèdre (approximately 7%); while several typical grape varieties comprise the remaining blend (such as Counoise, Terret Noir, Muscardin and Vaccarèse).
Winemaking: The process starts with selection of specific parcels based on maturity (Grenache vines are 30-70 years old), best exposures and low yields. Grapes are harvested by hand and rigorously sorted out. Each grape variety is vinified separately after total de-stemming. Long vatting (3-4 weeks) is done with frequent pumping over. Temperature is controlled to afford the optimum extraction of color and aromas.
Maturing: The wine is aged in French oak barrels and wooden tun for 12 months before blending. The bottled wine is then cellared for several months, at controlled temperature and no light, before selling.
“A barrel-maker born in Châteauneuf-du-Pape will eventually think of filling his barrels.” It came to no surprise when the Bouachon family, barrel-makers who had already been selecting grapes to produce wine for others, decided to fill their own barrels in 1898. Skalli Grand Vin du Rhône (formerly Maison Bouachon) the winery was born.
During the first half of the 20th century, Skalli Grand Vin du Rhône (formerly Maison Bouachon) was immersed in the viticultural tradition of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Over time, the Maison became familiar with the diversity of regional vines and terroirs while establishing strong ties with local winegrowers. Having gained a foothold in the region, Skalli Grand Vin du Rhône continued developing its winemaking skill with the acquisition of barrel chais during the 50s: this included mastering the vinification process as well as perfecting the delicate art of blending and the aging.
Skalli Grand Vin du Rhône developed its passion for terroir while seeking the utmost in quality. Close relations were established with growers from one generation to the next. Combining resources and know-how through solid partnerships made it possible to get the most out of vines and terroirs. Exceptional parcels were carefully selected. Grenache, the king of grape varieties in the southern Rhône valley, became central to blending. In the chais, beside the original barrels, new oak casks were used to age the best vintages.
In 2001, Skalli Grand Vin du Rhône entered a new era when it became part of Skalli Family Wines. Already considered to be a great name in southern French wine, the Maison now aimed to be the most prominent wine of the appellation Châteauneuf-du Pape. Vintages of extraordinary refinement and complexity were conceived within the Rhône appellation tradition, their well-rounded bouquet revealing a multitude of incredibly fruity, spicy aromas.
Combining full-bodied harmony with exquisite refinement, Skalli Grand Vin du Rhône wines remain true to their southern origins today. Served in both traditional and gourmet restaurants, they are also found in wine shops and specialty stores in France and around the world.
Skalli Grand Vin du Rhône wines have been expressing the rich variety of their terroir for over a century. They have now become the most prominent wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe, the choicest appellation of southern France.
Ah! The vineyards of Châteauneuf du Pape, what a legend! The story begins in the 14th century when the pope’s court moved to Avignon. John XXII, the second pope from Avignon, who reigned from 1316 to 1334, had a castle built as a summer residence on the heights of the village of Calcernier, several kilometres from Avignon, and renamed Châteauneuf du Pape in 1893,. At that time, someone had the idea to plant a small vineyard where “excellent wines were harvested”. This delicate nectar was known as the Pope’s wine, its prestigious name before becoming the internationally acclaimed Châteauneuf du Pape. The Châteauneuf du Pape Controlled Appellation was created in 1933, defining the production area and conditions.