Domaine Charvin 2018 – Classic Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Domaine Charvin was founded in 1851 and has been in the Charvin family for six generations.  For most of its history the domaine sold its grapes to negociants.  The first estate bottling was in 1990 when current family head Laurent Charvin took over.  Since then the domain has been consistently in the first rank of producers, yet has retained a low-key profile. 
 
Charvin is small, just a little over eight hectares.  The vineyard work and winemaking are strictly traditional at all stages.  Vine age averages 50yrs. and some vines are 70yrs.  Grapes are picked and sorted by hand and are not de-stemmed.  Vinification takes place in traditional cement vats with natural yeasts and the wine is aged for twenty-one months in cement tanks – there is no oak – and is bottled unfiltered.  Charvin’s plots are in three lieu-dits in northwest Chateauneuf (Cabrieres, Maucoil and l’Arnesque, if you’re interested).  They are cooler than most vineyards in the appellation and thus help lend Charvin its signature elegance. 
 
The 2018 is 85% Grenache with Mourvedre, Syrah and Vaccarese in the balance.  Charvin is typically very expressive on the nose with a broad palate balancing red fruit and earthy, savory notes with always a long finish.   Unlike many producers, Charvin does not make a prestige first cuvee or a ‘second label’.  All the best of the crop go into the single Domaine Charvin bottling and the rest of the grapes are sold off.  With old vines, low yields and just the most basic winery practices the result is quintessential Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and it is one of the best values in the appellation.  The wine is very enjoyable now with an hour or two of decanting and will age for twenty years.       
 
Domaine Charvin Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge 2018
Regular: $61.99
Sale Price: $53.97
 
Vinous, 94-96pts. – “Dark glistening red. A highly perfumed bouquet evokes ripe red and dark berries, baking spices, garrigue and candied flowers, and a smoky mineral flourish appears as the wine opens up. Sappy, sweet and penetrating on the palate, offering juicy black raspberry, cherry and lavender pastille flavors joined by hints of allspice and bitter chocolate. Smooth and seamless in texture, showing superb finishing clarity, gently gripping tannins and strong, spicy persistence. This is a somewhat more brawny wine than usual for Laurent Charvin, but it still retains the domaine's trademark balance and energy.”
 
Jeb Dunnuck, 92-94pts. – “As to the top wine, I was able to taste the 2018 Châteauneuf Du Pape from multiple tanks, all rating between 92 and 95 points. All of the wines showed the dark, blue-tinged fruit style that’s common in the vintage at this point as well as medium to full body, notable complexity, and a seamless, silky, finesse-oriented style that still carries plenty of density and depth. I suspect it will be a step back from the 2016 and 2017, but it’s a beautiful wine in the making that will have plenty of early appeal yet still age gracefully.”
 
Past Cellar Selections:
Joseph Phelps Insignia, 99pts! – The Original Cali Cult Wine
Barolo 2016 Vintage
Muga Prado Enea Gran Reserva 2014
Quintessa 2018 – 99pt(!) Bordeaux Blend from Napa
Vajra 2017 – Three Variations on Barolo
Saint Préfert Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2019 – 97 & 99 pts!
Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey – Burgundy Royalty
Don Melchor 2018 – 100pts!
Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard 2019
Dalla Valle Collina 2018
Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2018
Il Censo Praruar and Njuro – School of Bea
Bordeaux 2009 – A Legendary Vintage
Clos i Terrasses “Laurel” Priorat 2018 - Homage to Garnacha
Canon la Gaffeliere St. Emilion '15 & '16
La Rioja Alta “890” Gran Reserva Rioja 2004

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