2016 Domaine de la Charbonniere Vacqueyras Cuvee Speciale

Year: 2016
Appellation: Rhone
Country: France
Wine Spectator: 92
Wine Advocate: 92-94
Vinous Media: 92-94
James Suckling: 93
Jeb Dunnuck: 92-94
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 16.0%
Price :
$29.95

"Very perfumy, with spice-infused cherry and raspberry compote notes that are enhanced by lavender and singed mesquite hints. The lightly juicy finish is sneakily long, showing a latent mineral detail. Grenache and Syrah. Drink now through 2023. 320 cases made, 67 cases imported. -JM" (WS)

"From the estate's vineyards near Sarrians, the 2016 Vacqueyras had yet to be bottled at the time of my June visit. It's full-bodied and creamy textured, with lovely raspberry and dried spice nuances.

Only the entry-level 2016 Chateauneuf-du-Pape had been bottled at the time of my visit, so most of the ratings for the wines of this domaine are still preliminary. That said, the final blends for the top cuvées had been made, and they were slated to be bottled the following week, so I'm reasonably confident they will turn out as predicted. Don't neglect the wines being produced from the family's 20 hectares in the Sarrians sector of Vacqueyras, which boasts clay-and-galets soils not dissimilar from certain parts of Châteauneuf-du-Pape." (WA)

"(raised in large oak casks and demi-muids, all of them used) Lurid ruby. Vibrant, mineral-accented red fruit, potpourri, blood orange and incense aromas show excellent definition and pick up a hint of star anise with air. Shows superb clarity and lift on the palate, offering appealingly sweet raspberry, cherry preserve and spicecake flavors that deepen on the back half. Conveys a suave blend of power and elegance and finishes extremely long and floral, with subtle tannins coming in late." (VM)

"Slightly creamy nuances. Light toffee and spice across ripe, brambly plums and dark berries. The palate has redder-fruit flavors. Sheer, measured and nicely balanced with plenty of flavor. Drink or hold." (JS)

"The 2016 Vacqueyras Cuvée Spéciale is a killer Vacqueyras that has tons of violets, spice, and minerality as well as more garrigue and sweet Grenache fruit with time in the glass. Deep, medium to full-bodied, gorgeously textured, and balanced, it needs short-term cellaring but will keep for a decade.

This fantastic, family-run estate is now firmly in the hands of sisters Caroline and Veronique Maret, yet they continue to receive help from their parents Mireille and Michel Maret and consultant Philippe Cambie. Looking at their Châteauneuf-du-Pape releases, they produce four cuvées: the Tradition, Mourre des Perdrix, Vieilles Vignes, and the Les Hautes Brusquières. The traditional cuvée comes from all the estate’s holdings and is typically a blend of 70% Grenache and 15% each of Syrah and Mourvèdre. It’s mostly destemmed and brought up in older barrels and stainless steel. It’s certain a terrific introduction into the style of the estate. The Mourre des Perdrix comes from more sandy soils just behind the estate and is the same blend as the classic cuvée. This cuvée is always the most seamless and elegant in the lineup. The Vieilles Vignes comes from the oldest vines of the estate and the pebbly soils of the La Crau lieu-dit. Based on 95% Grenache or more, with the balance Mourvèdre, it’s always the most structured, tannic, and masculine of the three special cuvées. Lastly, the Les Hautes Brusquières comes from the Brusquières plateau in the northern portion of the appellation and is a 60/40 split of Grenache and Syrah that’s destemmed and aged in a mix of foudre and barrels. This cuvée is generally the most opulent and full-bodied in the lineup, and while approachable in its youth, is capable of keeping for upward of two decades." (JD)

Winery Notes:
WHY WE LOVE IT:
The Vacqueyras appellation spreads for about 3,200 acres on two towns: Vacqueyras and Sarrians. This wine comes from two parcels and lieux dits “Pavane” and “La Verde” situated on Plateau des “Garrigues” in Sarrians.

The blend of Grenache and Syrah is the signature of the great wines of the South Rhône Valley.

The soil is essentially composed of red chalky calcareous soils with smooth stones. This geologic particularity is conductive to low yields allowing grapes to reach a high color, tannin and aromatic concentration.

Varietal Composition:
60% Grenache, 40% Syrah

Elaboration:
Enormous care is taken at harvest time. It is done in a traditional method: hand-picked harvest with a selective sorting of grapes in the vineyard and at the cellar (by using a sorting table), which are proofs of quality. We desteemed and fermented in conical wood vat and stainless steel vats. The alcoholic fermentation lasts 3 to 4 weeks with different operations : A release, punching of the cap and pumping over. The malolactic fermentation is made in demi-muids and oak vats. Elevage is done in conical wood vat, stainless steels vats with a mix of demi-muid and some barrels for aging. Tasting Notes: Opulent notes of dark cherries,raspberries, and dried herbs . The mouth is utterly elegant with beautiful length driven by black berries and licorice.