Clos Saint Jean
2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC
France: Châteauneuf du Pape
How many 100-pointers can a young project stack up in just a decade? Tens? Dozens? Let’s revisit that shortly and insert a true story… It was in 2007, with Agent Noir at this massive, international Hospice du Rhône celebration grand tasting in Paso Robles. He sampled through hundreds of the very best Rhône wines from around the world, when an importer named Paul Young poured him a palate-awakeningly (after all those massive wines prior!) gorgeous, Châteauneuf. Paul took his glass for another pour but this time from a bottle concealed under the table. Agent Noir took a sip and had a whole-body experience, as the wine sent shivers up and down his spine. A couple of weeks later, Clos Saint Jean earned their first 100-point score from Robert Parker, who raves; “this may well be one of the most exciting addresses not only in France but in the entire wine world…” adding; “in short, these wines are not to be missed!”
Deep crimson fading to ruby to purple in the glowing rim, with bold legs suggesting a big red. Beautiful perfume with rich cherry and raspberry fruit, garrigue, licorice, and leather nuances. Gloriously ripe bordering on sweet but it stops short of being over the top with savory depth. Full-bodied, richly textured and very long on the stunning finish, this is a true wow wine lasting easily over a minute. A match made in heaven ingredient for pairings would be any dried exotic mushroom or freshly shaved black truffle.
Philippe Cambie is the genius consultant here, who, on demand, is the only winemaker in the Rhône, can take on a winery, if he sees as a fit for his wizardry, and turn it into a 100-pointer machine. He’s done this too many times to argue that it’s possible. He took on Clos Saint Jean under his wings when brothers Maurel resurrected it in the 2000s and the top bottlings just can’t stop getting perfect scores, vintage after vintage. Cut of the same cloth, this little gem of theirs is surely that not to miss CdP QpR deal you’ve been waiting for. Sadly, we were able to secure too little for how big a news getting this wine here was, so it will go fast & furious, buckle up and hit that buy button hard.
Fun fact: Manfred Krankl, of another cult winery Sine Qua Non, chose Clos Saint Jean to conspire an ultra-rare, magnums-only Châteauneuf called Chimere that has reached the $2,000+ value mark as the ultimate collectible!
Here’s what the wine press has to say:
93 Points – Jeb Dunnuck - “The Maurel brothers, along with rock star consultant Philippe Cambie, continue to knock it out of the park in just about every vintage, and since taking over control of the estate in 2002, they’ve yet to put a foot wrong. Even in the more difficult vintages, they’re able to produce charming, balanced, delicious wine, and in top vintages, they produce some of the greatest wines on earth. As I’ve written in the past, Clos Saint Jean is at the top of their game and producing some of the most singular, hedonistic and brilliant wines in the world. Also, I was able to taste a retrospective of the white Châteauneuf-du-Pape and came away thinking that current vintages might be some of the most under-the-radar, great whites of the appellation. Moving to the reds and 85% Grenache and the rest Syrah and Mourvèdre, the base 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a beauty and boasts appealing notes of spiced red and black fruits, cedar, and garrigue. Full-bodied, ripe and undeniably sexy, it’s going to benefit from a year or three in the cellar and drink nicely for over a decade. Drink now-2028.”
92 Points – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate - “ Brothers Pascal and Vincent Maurel manage this exemplary estate, with guidance from the ubiquitous consultant, Philippe Cambie. With no obvious signage, it would be easy for visitors to Châteauneuf-du-Pape to overlook this Domaine, but from within this nondescript exterior emerge some of the appellation’s top bottlings. Vincent pointed out during my visit that the cellar contains 180 barrels but that they’re never used for Grenache, with the exception of the Sanctus Santorum, which ages exclusively in new demi-muids. He predicts that “2016 will be one of the greatest vintages in a very long time, maybe the very best.” One of the highlights of my visit was the chance to look back at the Domaine’s 2008s, which remain some of the best wines produced in that difficult vintage. “They’re fine, elegant, and today we can drink them pretty easily,” said Vincent. “I advise people to have a lot of Châteauneuf in their cellars.” Production at the Domaine in 2017 was down by 40% across the board, so consumers may want to buy a bit more of the 2016s to ensure they have enough on hand. The lush, fruit-forward 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a good introduction to the Domaine’s Grenache-dominated style, boasting copious amounts of cherry and apricot fruit. It’s full-bodied and velvety in texture, with attractive hints of licorice emerging on the long finish. With its slightly more prominent acidity, it should drink well for longer than the 2015 or 2017 versions. Drink 2018-2030.”
Deep crimson fading to ruby to purple in the glowing rim, with bold legs suggesting a bid red.
Beautiful perfume with rich cherry and raspberry fruit, garrigue, licorice, and leather nuances.
Gloriously ripe bordering on sweet but it stops short of being over the top with savory depth.
Full-bodied, richly textured and very long, this is a true wow wine lasting easily over a minute.
A match made in heaven would be any dried exotic mushroom or freshly shaved black truffle.
What the Winery Says
- Consulting winemaker
- Philippe Cambie
- Winemaker / owners
- Pascal & Vincent Maurel
- 75% Grenache, 25% Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Vaccarèse & Muscardin
- Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC
- Sustainable & Certified Organic
- Clay limestone, galets
- 120 meters
- 12 months
- Grenache 12 months in concrete, others 12 months in used French oak