“Very silky in feel, with beguiling rooibos tea, bergamot and blood orange accents sitting atop the large core of cassis and raspberry pâte de fruit. Everything is in lockstep through the finish, where buried minerality adds the final touch. Best from 2020 through 2035. 328 cases made.”- 96 points, Wine Spectator – Oct 2017
Another micro-production wine (less than 300 cases), the 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape l’Avenue is entirely Grenache from the lieu-dit Vaudieu, aged in demi-muids. Loaded with attractive notes of flowering garrigue and ripe cherries, it’s full-bodied and creamy in texture on the palate, then glides to a long, spicy-peppery finish. – 94 points, Wine Advocate (JC) – Oct 2017
We have mentioned there will always be a debate regarding which was the better of two of the Rhone Valley’s greatest vintages: 2015 or 2016? While the 2017 vintage is the current release, and there are still some of the better 2016s still available, it is nearly impossible to find any remaining 2015s, let alone those considered to be the finest.
Located about a five minute drive outside the village of Chateauneuf-du-Pape along the road which leads to Courthezon you will find Chateau de Vaudieu (see my attached photograph from visit in September of 2018). It is one of three 18th century Chateaux located in the appellation, tucked into a small valley surrounded by hills and plateau. It is at the intersection of several major terroirs: sandy soils to the north, along a border it shares with Chateau Rayas (one of the best wines in Chateauneuf-du-Pape but not actually a Chateau), pale limestone and clays centered around a forested hillock, and two large plateaux of the somewhat overexposed galets. In total there are 70 hectares within one contiguous estate – something very rare in the appellation.
Laurent Brechet created L’Avenue to express a small, distinctive terroir-based lieu-dit “parcel” from his 70 hectares of vines. Along with the assistance of legendary consultant-winemaker Philippe Cambie, the L’Avenue Chateauneuf-du-Pape is not one of the typical varietal blends allowed by the AOC, rather it is made from 100% Grenache grown primarily on a sandy terroir of decomposed red sandstone. This terroir makes for an express-ive and vibrant style of Grenache which is fermented and aged in concrete and used 600L demi-muids.