Variety: 80% Grenache, 7.5% Syrah, 7.5% Mourvedre, 5% Carignan
Country, Region: France, Rhone Valley
Appellation: Cotes du Rhone
’81% Grenache (av age 40 yrs in 2012, youngest 2004, 1992, oldest 1920s), 7.5% Syrah (1985), 7.5% Mourvèdre (1985, a recently rented plot), 5% Carignan (1950s) ... from near Maucoil, Quartier Champovin, Boislauzon, sandy, clay-limestone, some galet stones soils, light crush, whole bunch 15-20 day fermentation, daily pumping overs, press wine added, concrete vat raised 18 months, fined, unfiltered, up to 50,000 b.
Gentle red robe, with pale top. The bouquet offers a beguiling aroma of spice and rose petals, underlined by strawberry fruit jam. It shows immediate character, away from the herd. The palate picks up on the floral theme, with discreet red berry fruit lining its path, and notes of fresh ping in the tannins, a rocky element from them. This is bingo Thinker’s Wine, one to study and ruminate upon. It has sustained length, and the aftertaste is a festival of spice and pot pourri, dried flowers, a lip smacking, well rounded conclusion. The tannins require another year or so for fusion, but they bring personality to the wine, even now. It’s hard to find wines such as this in these days of conformity. 14°. 2029-31' 4.5 stars, John Livingstone-Learmonth, The Cradle of The Rhone, July 2020.
Laurent Charvin runs this small family estate located in the north of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. The domaine has vineyard holdings of just 8 hectares in Chateauneuf-du-Pape and 13 hectares in Cotes du Rhone. The average age of the vineyards is over 50 years old with the oldest being nearly 80 years of age. Laurent Charvin describes his vineyard site as being cool for Chateauneuf as their vines are mostly planted on sandy north facing slopes. Certified organic.
Charvin produces finely styled Grenache based wines showing great depth and finesse (approximately 80% Grenache for each wine with small amounts of Vacaresse and Mourvedre as well as small amounts of Carignan and Bourboulenc for the Cotes du Rhone). Winemaking is traditional with no de-stemming and all ageing is done in cement tanks. No wood is used for the elevage of either wine. There are no secrets here, simply old vines, very low yields and minimal winemaking intervention. The Cotes du Rhone is regularly rated as one of the very best from this area and perhaps it is not surprising as the vines for this cuvee border directly on to the appellation for Chateauneuf du Pape in the northern sector where they are located.