2016 Château de Vaudieu Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC
France: Châteauneuf du Pape
Valley of Divinity
Rayas neighbor. Cambie made. 35 bucks. Double 94 points. Oops, we just lost all the Rhône insiders to the Buy Button already! Let’s rewind a bit while they return to read on, to, say 1767, shall we? Far enough to establish a breathtaking Château in Châteauneuf just a few centuries following the pope’s love affair that renamed it. One taste of this and we’re right there with the pope…
Speaking of the pope, Philippe Cambie is the tour de force here. He is the only consulting winemaker in France that we know of who can, if he sees a fit for his craft, sign on a winery to turn it into a 100-pointer machine. He has proven this too many times to even argue if it’s probable: from Clos Saint Jean in the South to Jamet in the North to his collaboration with Manfred Krankl of Sine Qua Non in California, the man has been there, done that, catapulting near-forgotten properties to the TOP of the list.
Vivid crimson with a near opaque heart, graduating to a fiery shade of ruby red on the rim. The nose is redolent with that telltale knee-weakening Grenache perfume of fresh raspberry, strawberry, and spices. On the palate, the unmistakable structure of Syrah kicks in with powdery refined tannins, and balanced oomph to crispness. The sublime finish rounds out to be extremely long with exotic earthy accents, expanding a core of sappy red fruits. For the right pairing with this breathtaking red dress up and roast your favorite bird with mushrooms, black truffles, or a mélange of herbs.
The Wine Spectator highlights; “The Château de Vaudieu is a historic estate, one of only three still-standing Châteaus in the appellation that date to the 18th century (along with Château Fortia and Château La Nerthe). Gabriel Meffre, the Gigondas-based producer, bought the initial 30 hectares in 1955 and quickly built it up to its current 70 hectares, all contiguous vineyards located next door to the famed Château Rayas. Yet history and location alone don’t guarantee quality. Enter the newest generation of the Bréchet family, led by Laurent Bréchet, and his brother Julien. Add in consultant Philippe Cambie and in-house winemaker Christophe Schurdevin, and what you have is a young, dynamic team that has made a major, major turnaround.”
Robert Parker also affirms that; “The always gracious Laurent Brechet oversees this large property, located close to the village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and adjoins Château Rayas and the Barroche “Pure” vines. Despite its proximity to the village, the Château itself is set well back from the road, a fact that no doubt made it appealing from a security standpoint for a visit from the Obamas, who visited the estate the day after I did. Celebrity visits aside, this is a terrific address, with great wines from top to bottom of the knockout 2016 lineup… Their consultant, Philippe Cambie, also deserves a lot of credit.”
Here’s what the wine press has to say:
94 Points – Wine Spectator - “Gorgeous, with a lush core of raspberry, blueberry and boysenberry puree flavors gliding through, flecked with anise, violet, and incense notes. Carried by fresh, well-embedded acidity, this is lush and beguiling through the lengthy finish. 500 cases imported. Best from 2020 through 2035.”
94 Points – Wine Enthusiast - “While crisp black-cherry and strawberry flavors are fresh and pristine on the nose, this is an opulent, powerful red. Dried-strawberry and plum flavors are concentrated, accented by hints of earth and firm, taut tannins. Its luscious red-fruit flavors are approachable already but firm structure and fresh acidity should allow integration and improvement through 2030 and hold further still.”
93 Points – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate - “Vadieu’s ‘regular’ Châteauneuf-du-Pape is excellent, mostly aged in concrete, offers ripe red raspberry and apricot notes alongside delicate hints of spice and garrigue. Full-bodied and lush, it shows off wonderfully ripe Grenache fruit without much in the way of other adornment or artifice, finishing long and silky. Drink 2018-2030.”
93 Points – Antonio Galloni’s Vinous - “Deep ruby. Heady aromas of dark berry liqueur, incense and cola, along with a suave floral nuance that builds with air. Smoky and seamless on the palate, offering fleshy, alluringly sweet red and blue fruit, spicecake and candied licorice flavors braced by a spine of juicy acidity. Closes with excellent clarity, smooth tannins and floral-dominated persistence, leaving subtle star anise and boysenberry notes behind. Drink 2023-2032.”
Vivid crimson with a near opaque heart, graduating to a fiery shade of ruby red on the rim.
That telltale knee-weakening Grenache perfume of fresh raspberry, strawberry, and spices.
Structure of Syrah kicks in with powdery refined tannins and balanced oomph to crispness.
Rounds out extremely long with exotic earthy accents, expanding a core of sappy red fruits.
Dress up and roast your favorite bird with mushrooms, black truffles, or a mélange of herbs.
What the Winery Says
- Phillippe Cambie
- 55% Grenache, 33% Syrah, 7% Cinsault, 5% Mourvèdre
- Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Rhône Valley
- FIne sand and galets
- Vineyard size
- 4.5 hectares
- Average vine age
- 40 years
- 8 months
- 10% new French oak, 90% concrete vats