2020 Clos St-Jean Deus Ex Machina Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhone Valley, France – WS97, WA 96+

2020 Clos St-Jean Deus Ex Machina Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhone Valley, France – WS97, WA 96+



$135 a bottle if this wine is ordered as a set with a bottle of the 2020 Clos Saint-Jean La Combe des Fous! 

Because of our success selling the 2021 Clos St-Jean Vieilles Vignes Chateauneuf, the importer has graciously offered an allocation of six bottles of each of the winery’s top tier and rarely found Chateauneuf-du-Pape cuvees.  Both wines are only produced in the finest vintages, and consistently receive top ratings as collectibles..

Clos Saint-Jean is a 48-hectare estate in Châteauneuf-du-Pape run by brothers Vincent and Pascal Maurel. Considered by many critics and wine-writers as the preeminent estate espousing the modern style of winemaking in Châteauneuf, this cellar is one of the oldest in the region, having been founded in 1900 by the great-great-grandfather of Vincent and Pascal, Edmund Tacussel. A short time after its founding and well before the AOP of Chateauneuf-du-Pape was created in 1923, Edmund began bottling estate wines in 1910.

The various vineyards of Clos Saint-Jean are located primarily in La Crau. This plateau is perhaps the most iconic of the many terroirs of Châteauneuf-du-Pape – iron-rich red clays topped with galets. While about 60% of their vineyards are located here, specifically in the lieu-dits of Côteau de Saint-Jean and Cabane de Saint-Jean, another 40% are located in alluvial clay and sandy soils adjacent to the plateau. They also own a small parcel of Mourvèdre in the lieu-dit of Bois Dauphin near Château Rayas planted on sandy, limestone-rich soils.

Deus ex Machina is a literary and dramatic term for a miraculous intervention that interrupts a logical course of events in a plot or play. A suitable name for a cuvée that had its start in the torrid vintage of 2003 when the late legendary Philippe Cambie and Vincent Maurel made the decision to harvest at the end of September, weeks after their neighbors. Deus ex Machina is a blend of 60-100 year old vine Grenache (60%) from the iconic La Crau, aged in concrete tank for 12 months with equally ancient Mourvedre (40%) from the sandy soils of Bois-Dauphin aged in French demi-muid for the same amount of time. The 16% alcohol is extremely well integrated and balanced within the wine’s structure, and might provide some comforting warmth on a cold winter night.

JD 97

jebdunnuck.com, November 2022

A much more powerful wine based on 60% Grenache and 40% Mourvedre, the 2020 Châteauneuf Du Pape Deus-Ex Machina reminds me slightly of the 2011 with its spicy, perfumed, complex bouquet of red and black fruits, dried flowers, pepper, and Provençal herbs, with more gamey, meaty notes emerging with time in the glass. Full-bodied on the palate, it’s balanced, has ultra-fine yet building tannins, no hard edges, and a great finish. It needs a solid 4-5 years of bottle age and should have 20+ of overall longevity.

WS 97

Wine Spectator, January 2022

Boasts bitter plum, raspberry and black cherry reduction notes that have a lively savory, garrigue streak, while grippy-edged tar, tobacco and ganache notes pepper the finish. Muscular and dense but the cut is there, and the fruit core takes a late encore for good measure. Grenache and Mourvèdre. Best from 2025 through 2040. 500 cases made, 56 cases imported.

 WA 96+

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, October 2023

(96+ points) A blend of 60% Grenache (matured in concrete) and 40% Mourvèdre (matured in new oak), the 2020 Chateauneuf du Pape Deus Ex Machina features toasty, vanilla-stained aromas of black cherries, plums and licorice. Full-bodied, richly concentrated and tannic yet lively and long, this intense, long-lived beauty finishes long, with lingering subtle echoes of dark chocolate. – Joe Czerwinski