Clos Saint Jean Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes Old Vines 2020 (Southern Rhone, France) - [WS 95,
Clos Saint Jean Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes Old Vines 2020 (Southern Rhone, France) - [WS 95,
Clos Saint Jean Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes Old Vines 2020 (Southern Rhone, France) - [WS 95,

Clos Saint Jean Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes Old Vines 2020
(Southern Rhone, France) - [WS 95, #12 Top 100 of 2023] [JD 93] [WA 92] [VM 92]

Regular price $65.00 Sale price $62.97 Save $2.03

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WS95 JD93 WA92 VM92
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About This Wine:

Clos Saint-Jean is a 41-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 Le 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 found 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.

The farming at Clos Saint-Jean is fully sustainable due to the warm and dry climate, which prevents the need for chemical inputs. Instead, Vincent and Pascal employ organic methods for pest control, mainly pheromones, to prevent pests from taking up residence in their vines, a process called, amusingly enough in French, confusion sexuelle. The vines are tended manually, and harvest is conducted in several passes entirely by hand.

Once harvested, the grapes arrive at the cellar in small bins. The white varieties are pressed directly, with Grenache Blanc and Clairette being fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks, while the Roussanne is fermented and aged in barrel. The reds are almost entirely destemmed, with about 10% whole clusters retained. Fermentation follows in concrete vats. Macerations are long, averaging 35 days on the skins. The Grenache sees a gentle maceration with delestage, while the Syrah and Mouvrèdre receive pigeage. All the Grenache is aged in concrete except Sanctus Sanctorum, a single plot of old-vine Grenache that in exceptional vintages, is aged in demi-muid and bottled only in magnum. Syrah and Mourvèdre are aged in barriques and demi-muids. Aging for all the reds is about 12 months. The Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes is bottled especially for European Cellars and is selected by the brothers with input from the late Philippe Cambie and Eric Solomon. In addition to the Sanctus Sanctorum, two additional small cuvées are made: La Combe des Fous and Deus ex Machina – each sourced primarily from Le Crau, the power, and finesse of which is apparent in both wines. The Deus ex Machina is deepened in flavor with the inclusion of the old vine Mourvèdre that the Maurels farm on the sandy soils of Bois–Dauphin.

  • VARIETY Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Vaccarèse, Muscardin
  • AGE OF VINES 50-100
  • FARMING SustainableSOILClay limestone, galets
  • ALTITUDE 120 meters
  • FERMENTATION Fermentation in stainless steel and concrete tanks
  • AGING Grenache 12 months in concrete tanks, remaining varieties aged 12 months in French oak
A blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Vaccarèse and Muscardin, the Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes is made from old-vines located in and around Le Crau. The Grenache is aged in concrete for 12 months while the remainder is aged in demi-muid.

Ratings & Reviews:

95 Points, #12 Top 100 of 2023 - Wine Spectator
"Leads with warm ganache and fig bread notes, followed quickly by raspberry reduction accents that take some time to unwind. Showcases plum pâte de fruit, sanguine and black licorice notes, with a flicker of Turkish coffee underscoring the finish and giving this a decidedly dark profile in the end. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Vaccarèse and Muscardin. Best from 2024 through 2038. 900 cases made, 670 cases imported." - JM (Feb 2023)

93 Points - Jeb Dunnuck:
"As usual, the 2020 Châteauneuf Du Pape Vieilles Vignes brings more richness and depth without losing any sense of elegance or balance. Blackberries, ground herbs, chalky minerality and loamy earth flow to a ripe, medium to full-bodied, seamless, incredibly elegant 2020 with tons of character. It will evolve for 10-15 years as well." (Nov 2022)

92 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate:
"A bottling for the American importer (Eric Solomon/European Selections), the 2020 Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes is blended to the same proportions as the main cuvée (75% Grenache, 15% Syrah and the rest a mix of other permitted red varieties), but it includes more old-vine Grenache. It's all destemmed and reached 16% alcohol this vintage, so it's a slightly bigger, richer wine, loaded with black cherries and dried spices." - JC (Oct 2023)

92 Points - Vinous Media:
"The 2020 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes is a treat. This wine is introduced by up-front cooked red and black fruits, licorice and spice box aromas. Layered and full-bodied, it is framed by smooth tannins and closes with a bold finish. This 2020 red has all the ingredients for extended bottle aging. Drink 2024 - 2036" - NG (Jun 2023)