Domaine Santa Duc La Crau Ouest Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2017
A very small vineyard of half a hectare. 80 year old vines, completely on sand next to Rayas and Clos du Caillou, the best terroir on La Crau. The sand consists of 80% pure sand and 20% ground limestone, since here exactly 11 million. Years spilled along the Mediterranean. These deposits make up La Crau today. The wine is bush wine and from 2015 even certified organic. Entirely debarked, fermented in concrete, and then expanded in large wood powder and in the Tuscan clay amphora. 100% Grenache. The nose is exactly what you would expect from a perfect Châteauneuf du Pape. A quintessential Clos Caillou quartz, a little Clos du Pape, a little Chaupin by Jannasse. The neighboring Châteauneuf du Pape in Michel Tardieu's Cuvée Speciale, whose vineyard is right next to it, has the same typicity. Andre Brunelle's Cuvée Centenaire is also wrong. That is exactly what I expect from Châteauneuf du Pape. Red fruit, concentrated strawberry, raspberry, red cherry, sour cherry, limestone nose, fine salt, infinitely sweet, but also infinitely fine and playful, prancing. A burgundy in a slightly denser and sweeter form of a Premier Cru from Chambolle-Musigny with such infinite charm. To catch up with the previously mentioned Chateauneuf greats, Yves Gras may lack a few years of experience in this vineyard. The mouth is also infinitely charming, maybe the last move, thump and pressure are missing to move up into the 100 point league like the wines mentioned above in such a brilliant year. But it is definitely the best Châteauneuf du Pape Yves has ever made, and that is exactly the style that I imagine for big Chateauneuf. 2015 fits perfectly, of course, the tannins are so silky, the wine is electrically charged, great excitement, it is really exciting and so delicious from the first moment. Why am I denying him the highest rating? Maybe because I don't trust Yves as the winemaker of Gigondas to take this last step and he hasn't been at Châteauneuf long enough. Maybe unfair, but still great stuff. Perhaps the last kick in this Châteauneuf, compared to the sizes mentioned, is also not there because the expansion takes place almost 100% in amphorae made of terracotta. The incredible playfulness in Yves wines is somewhat counteracted by the resulting fullness and roundness. Perhaps also because Yves, unlike the producers mentioned above, does not ferment a part with black rape as a whole grape, but completely destemmed and completely expanded in the clay amphora. Accordingly, his wine is a little one-dimensional, beautiful, but a little clumsier, rounder and a little less complex. Maybe that's what makes the final kick. These amphorae are so new, we have to wait and see how it will show in 10 years.