2010 Chateau Sixtine Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Year: 2010
Appellation: Rhone
Country: France
Wine Spectator: 94
Wine Advocate: 96
Vinous Media: 92
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.0%
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"A dark, brawny style, with roasted apple wood and dark espresso framing the currant paste, blackberry pâte de fruit, melted black licorice and bittersweet cocoa notes. There's lots of muscle on the finish, but also lovely flickers of violet and pastis for nuance. Needs time to unwind fully. Best from 2015 through 2030. 1,500 cases made." (WS)

"The 2010 Chateau Sixtine Chateauneuf du Pape performed exquisitely and, again, was one of the top wines of the vintage. With better integration of the new oak than I have previously seen from Jean-Marc Diffonty, this wine's opaque ruby/purple color possesses lots of licorice, asphalt, graphite, blackberry and kirsch notes as well as hints of lavender, forest floor and garrigue. This opulent, full-bodied effort is approachable, but it will not hit its full stride for another 2-4 years. It should drink well for 15-20 years thereafter.

This is one of Chateauneuf du Pape's ancient estates (the recorded history dates back to 1673), long owned by the Diffonty family (presently by Jean-Marc). Their first Chateauneuf du Pape was sold under the estate name in 1902. Jean-Marc is an innovative visionary and when he took over for his father, he invested heavily in temperature-controlled stainless steel and used new oak for the first time. Some of his traditional clients balked at the new styled wines, so he offered a traditional cuvee under the name Cuvee du Vatican as well as his old vine, more modern-styled wine, Cuvee Sixtine. Now, things have changed again. Starting in 2010 there is only one estate wine, called Chateau Sixtine. The second wine is called Manus Dei, and a negociant wine has been launched under the old estate name of Cuvee du Vatican. This may be confusing for longtime customers, but the important fact to remember is that the main wine produced is the Chateau Sixtine. In descending order of quality, one has to start with the Chateau Sixtine. In the past, this cuvee has been composed of 55% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 15% Mourvedre, with the Grenache aged in tank and old foudres, and the Syrah and Mourvedre in small oak casks." (WA)

"Opaque purple. Heady aromas of cherry-cola, blueberry, potpourri and sandalwood, with a spicy overtone. Deeply pitched dark fruit flavors are enlivened by juicy acidity and pick up notes of candied lavender and white pepper with air. Ripe and lively, finishing with outstanding energy, harmonious tannins and lingering sweetness." (IWC)