Robert Parker – 93
Reminding me of the 1992 and a resounding success in the vintage, The 2008 Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve des Celestins is a seamless, elegant and beautifully complex effort that’s worth seeking out. Offering up notions of sandalwood, sweet cherries, pepper and exotic spice, it is medium-bodied, elegant and silky on the palate. Finesse-driven, with terrific complexity and nuance, this beauty is already accessible and a joy to drink. Enjoy it over the coming decade or more. A great, and eye opening, visit that goes to show that sanitation might not be everything when it comes to winemaking, Henri Bonneau’s cellar is as incredibly humid, dirty and packed a cellar as I’ve ever seen. (In comparison, Rayas, which would give some Central Coast winemakers a heart attack, seems as sanitary as the International Space Station.) Nevertheless, Bonneau portrays a zest for life and the sweet nectar that comes out of the barrels could come from nowhere else. It’s also times like that when you realize how lucky we are, as wine lovers today, to have the access to a gentleman like Henri Bonneau and to be able to taste his wines. They won’t exist forever. During the visit, we went through every vintage back to 2005, however, due to the incredible time in barrel prior to bottling (some wines spend upward of 5 years in barrel), I question the correlation to what I tasted to what will actually end up in barrel (or the use of reviewing 2012s and 2011s now, when they won’t be released for years). As such, I’ve opted to just review the 2009s, 2008 (which is in bottle), the 2007 (which, based on my tasting, could be bottled tomorrow and be fabulous) and the 2006, which I reviewed last year for the Rhone Report. Importer: Alain Junguenet, Wines of France, Mountainside, NJ; tel. (908) 654-6173
Anticipated maturity: 2013-2023
Vinous – 94
Deep ruby. High-pitched aromas of red berry liqueur, cherry pit, lavender and allspice, with a zesty mineral nuance adding vivacity. Sweet and expansive on the palate, offering vibrant black raspberry and floral pastille flavors that become richer and spicier with aeration. Silky tannins give shape to the strikingly persistent finish, which features sappy dark berry and fruitcake qualities.