The virtues of the fabulous 2016 vintage in the Southern Rhône are evident in Domaine du Grand Tinel’s outstanding 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Ripe, racy, full-bodied and bursting with energy, Elie Jeune’s 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape exudes savory scents of ripe black cherry, kirsch, spice, and plum infused with hints of savory Provençal herbs. In the mouth, deep berry and plum flavors explode on the palate, and with each sip deft touches of fennel, leather, and smoked meat mingle with the wine’s deep fruit flavors to add layer upon layer of complexity to this already energetic Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Ripe, firm tannins provide structure, strength, and all the scaffolding this wine needs now and for the next decade or more. Although powerful and full-bodied on account of traditional winemaking and the largesse of the great 2016 vintage, the Grand Tinel’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape exhibits a brightness and suavity that allow it to drink well even in its youth. For optimal enjoyment, we suggest serving the 2016 Domaine Grand Tinel Châteauneuf-du-Pape at cool room temperature (58°-60º F) after at least 30 minutes of aeration.
Lamb and beef are the traditional accompaniments to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and both provide excellent counterparts to a bottle of the 2016 Domaine Grand Tinel. However, if ever there were just a single wine for all seasons and every occasion, Grand Tinel’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape would certainly be at the top of that list. The finest cuts of red meat certainly make great partners to Elie Jeune’s classic wine. Some of our favorite pairings with Grand Tinel Châteauneuf-du-Pape include braised lamb shanks, beef tenderloin, game birds, and rotisserie roasted chicken basted with plenty of butter, olive oil and Provençal herbs. For the beef tenderloin, we suggest cooking it medium-rare and serving it with thickly sliced portabella mushrooms in a red wine, shallot, and Herbes de Provence reduction. Meatloaf with caramelized onions in a mushroom brandy cream sauce provides another excellent accompaniment. For satisfying meatless accompaniments, old-fashioned lentil or split pea soup, served with crusty French bread and a spoonful of shaved hard cheese, makes for a splendid mid week banquet in the company of the 2016 Grand Tinel Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Ravioli stuffed with cheese, wild mushrooms and savory herbs pairs beautifully with this wine, too. And a salad of roasted red peppers, sautéed portabella mushrooms, roasted eggplant, tomato, caramelized onions, and a healthy crumbling of chévre served over a bed of complex greens with a side of freshly baked focaccia with a dollop of pesto mayonnaise or olive tapenade also complements this fine Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Almost any dish with black olives, beans, sausages, and tomatoes makes a fine companion to any Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Bon appétit!
Domaine du Grand Tinel is one of the largest estates in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, though it remains a very hands-on boutique operation by virtue of its relatively small production and the fact that it remains a family run winery. The very capable and talented owner Elie Jeune is both proprietor and winemaker.
Nearly all of Grand Tinel’s 136 acres are devoted to the production of the estate’s very highly acclaimed red Châteauneuf-du-Pape. As is the case for most red Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Grand Tinel’s red wine is fashioned primarily from old vine Grenache (80%), with the balance of the cépage shared among Syrah, Mourvèdre, and small bunches of Cinsault and Counoise. By nearly all accounts, the wines of Domaine Grand Tinel remain some of the most traditional in style of all Châteauneuf-du-Papes. The house style underscores the full, rich fruit of the appellation as well as the power inherent in old vine Grenache and the finest wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Nonetheless, Elie Jeune’s wines are quite approachable when young and will hold for a dozen years or more in most vintages.
In recent years, Elie Jeune has taken to fashioning two red Châteauneuf-du-Pape selections: an excellent estate bottled offering that is consistently one of the finest in the appellation (this month’s feature), and Cuvée Alexis Establet, the domaine’s tête de cuvée from 100 year old vines. In addition, Domaine du Grand Tinel turns out a tiny quantity of aromatic white Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Grenache Blanc, Clairette, and Bourboulenc.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the Rhône Valley’s most important appellation. Located in Provence, astride the swift moving Rhône River, this sun-drenched locale is blessed with a dry Mediterranean climate that is nearly ideal for the cultivation of vines and the production of red wine. Châteauneuf-du-Pape also possesses some of the oldest vines in France; the average age of the vines here is in excess of 40 years, by far the oldest of any major appellation in France. In addition, the entire production of this great wine is hand harvested. Moreover, we have not yet mentioned the region’s fabulous terroir – large flat stones known as galets roulés that are mingled with plenty of decomposed gravel. The remnants of Alpine glaciers that once covered southern France, Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s glacial till provides excellent drainage and imparts subtle nuances of flavor to the appellation’s outstanding wines.
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