One of the first domaines to ever estate bottle in Chateauneuf is the Clos du Mont Olivet. Mont Olivet websiteCreated in 1932 by the Sabon family, it takes its name from the lieu dit Mont Olivet, which is but one part of their diverse 28 hectares of holdings in Chateauneuf; the vast majority of their vineyards are in the N/NE sector. They also own 17 hectares of land around the town of Bollene, roughly 20 miles north of Chateauneuf, from which they source all of their Cotes du Rhone bottlings.
Clos du Mont Olivet is a bastion of traditionalism, aging all wines in large neutral foudres; they are virtually all Grenache based, and have always had the same unifying house style of finesse and elegance throughout the generations. The domaine is currently run by the grandchildren of Joseph Sabon: Thierry, David, Celine, and Mylene. With a firm root in tradition, this younger generation has pushed quality higher and higher with more vigilant and thorough vineyard management. As is often the case, one can judge the work ethic of a domaine not only by their top wines (which should dazzle…), but rather by their humblest bottlings. The various Cotes du Rhone wines that they produce deliver and then some, with the same tell tale elegance, power, and purity that are hallmarks of the estate. I feel that is without question that they offer some the most outstanding quality/price rapport to be found, across their entire range, in particular their Chateauneuf wines. The classic provencal character is there in spades….Their tete de cuvee, the Cuvee du Papet, is my candidate for the single greatest value in top tier Chateauneuf……this year’s rendition has already sold out, in particular because Robert Parker gave it 99 points and slew of superlatives…..but it is increasingly becoming my favorite example of a finesse driven show stopping traditional Chateauneuf, whose harmony is stunning, and whose age worthiness is classic.
My first step with the domaine just happens to be the stellar 2010 vintage; lucky for all of us!!
Here are the goodies, in stock, with reviews from Josh Raynolds of Tanzer’s IWC:
“(60% grenache and 40% syrah): Opaque purple. Fresh blackberry and blueberry aromas and flavors are complicated by cracked pepper and violet, with a hint of smoke in the background. Very smooth and open-knit, finishing with impressive clarity and peppery length. Really shows the syrah right now. ” 88-90 points2010 Cotes du Rhone Monteiul la Levade $14
“(60% syrah and 40% grenache, raised in foudres and older barriques): Inky ruby. Cherry and cassis on the pungent nose and in the mouth. Rich and broad, with a velvety texture and good finishing punch. Less elegant than the other Cotes du Rhone bottlings here, showing a more brooding personality.” 89 points
2010 Chateauneuf du Pape Le Petit Mont $26
“Vivid ruby-red. Expressive aromas of strawberry, raspberry, pungent herbs and spicecake. Seamless red fruit preserve and rose flavors show a smoky quality and gain weight with air, picking up a note of bitter cherry. Rich but not at all heavy, finishing spicy, focused and persistent. ” 90-92 points
“”Deep ruby-red. Ripe red and dark berry scents are complicated by notes of garrigue and licorice. Lush, sappy black raspberry and mulberry flavors are lifted by a zesty mineral note and a hint of cracked pepper. Shows good heft and finishes with sweet, clinging red fruit character. Lots of power here but this wine is carrying no excess poundage.” 91-93 points2010 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee du Papet SOLD OUT
“Possibly the finest example of the Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee du Papet since Mont Olivet’s unreal 1990, the 2010 is a blend of 75% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre and 10% Syrah, all aged in foudre. The grapes come from the estate’s oldest vines (50- to 105-years-old), which were planted in the famous sites of Mont Olivet and Bois Dauphin. A extraordinarily deep plum/purple color is followed by notes of balsam wood, raspberries, black currants, lavender, garrigue, kirsch, licorice and underbrush. This quintessential Chateauneuf du Pape smells like an open-air Provencal market. It is a full-bodied, full-throttle, multilayered wine with exceptional concentration, power and precision. While it can be approached now, it will not hit its prime for another 3-4 years, and should last for two decades given how well the 1990 continues to perform.”99 points Robert Parker
If you love the wines of southern France, and don’t yet know Mont Olivet, now is the time. The 2010s are off the charts in their poise and intensity. Quantities are quite limited, first come first served.
As always, with any questions or interests: firstname.lastname@example.org
CHEERS TO THE FINESSE AND TRADITIONAL BEAUTY OF MONT OLIVET AND THE SABON FAMILY!
TO THE HEALTH OF YOU AND YOURS!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!