Once again, France’s Southern Rhône Valley was blessed with fine weather, resulting in a rare vintage of increased quantity in addition to a bevy of exceptional wines. Not surprisingly, the 2020 Domaine du Vieux Lazaret Châteauneuf-du-Pape (92 Points – Wine Spectator) is a wine at the top of its game. Juicy, pure, and beautifully ripe, Domaine du Vieux Lazaret’s 2020 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (67% Grenache, 22% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre, 6% from the other legal Châteauneuf-du-Pape grape varieties) is a true classic; it exhibits exceptional energy along with enticing aromas of ripe Bing cherries, blackberry, plum, and of course garrigue, the savory wild herbs of the Provençal landscape. In the mouth, ripe berry flavors infused with touches of sandalwood, exotic spices, fennel, and a hint of wood smoke grace the palate. Smooth and mouth filling with fine grained tannins, superb energy, and lift, the 2020 Domaine du Vieux Lazaret Châteauneuf-du-Pape is yet another exemplary offering from this well-respected domain. The 2020 Domaine du Vieux Lazaret Châteauneuf-du-Pape already delivers plenty of pleasure, yet it will repay handsomely those patient enough to cellar if for a couple of more years. For optimal enjoyment, we suggest at least thirty minutes of aeration before serving at cool room temperature (58°-62° F). Anticipated maturity: 2023-2033. Enjoy!
Châteauneuf-du-Pape complements a wide variety of foods, from game prepared with elaborate sauces to simple flatbreads and pizzas. Classic Provençal specialties provide exceptional accompaniments to the 2020 Domaine du Vieux Lazaret Châteauneuf-du-Pape, too. Regional favorites such as gigot d’agneau (roast leg of lamb) and savory lamb stew are perennial favorites that promise a memorable meal and an equally satisfying evening when paired with the 2020 Domaine du Vieux Lazaret Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Lamb, prepared almost any way one can imagine, provides a splendid opportunity to highlight the full, rich flavors of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, as the flavors of the meat are simultaneously enhanced and mellowed by the wine. Nevertheless, Domaine du Vieux Lazaret’s suave, robustly flavored 2020 Châteauneuf-du-Pape pairs equally well with other foods. Fine cuts of beef, venison, wild boar, and many vegetarian specialties such as ratatouille made with eggplant, squash and Herbes de Provence and Stuffed Zucchini Boats with a delectable mélange of quinoa, pearl onions, curried chicken, macerated strawberries, and balsamic vinegar also make wonderful accompaniments to Domaine du Vieux Lazaret’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Braised beef short ribs served with roasted Brussels sprouts with pancetta; ravioli stuffed with lobster; and tortellini made with fresh peas and prosciutto provide other excellent accompaniments. Furthermore, the 2020 Domaine du Vieux Lazaret, like its predecessors, has the ability to elevate simple well-prepared foods to the status of haute cuisine, so no need to worry about what to serve: this classic red is ready to deliver. Bon Appétit!
Domaine du Vieux Lazaret consistently fashions award winning Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Brought to its present status under the late proprietor Jérôme Quiot, Domaine du Vieux Lazaret remains one of the movers and shakers in what many wine critics claim to be the finest appellation in France. Quiot himself played an integral role in the administration of the appellation system in France, a process that not so ironically was born in Châteauneuf-du-Pape during the 1920s. He was also a proponent of the fleshy, seductive style of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and as the proprietor of the largest estate in Châteauneuf-du-Pape he did much to modernize the appellation and solidify its reputation as the preeminent appellation of the Southern Rhône. Quiot’s family remains in control and continues Jérôme’s incredible work, ever pushing the envelope in fashioning aromatic, immensely pleasing red Châteauneuf-du-Pape from all 13 of the appellation’s legal grape varieties. With a substantial, well-established property of nearly 250 acres to exploit, Domaine du Vieux Lazaret’s wines remain at the forefront of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the Rhône Valley’s most important appellation. Located in Provence, astride the swiftly 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 wine. Châteauneuf-du-Pape possesses some of the oldest vines in France, with the average age in excess of 40 years – by far the oldest of any major appellation in France. And, many of those vines are 80-100 years of age. 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, which can be both red and white and contain up to thirteen legal grape varieties including Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Muscardin, Cournoise, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Picpoul, Roussanne, Terret Noir, Picardan, and Vaccarese. A case can be made that there are actually fourteen legal grape varieties in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, as Grenache can be either a red or white grape.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape, meaning the Pope’s new castle, derives its name from the sprawling edifice that the Roman popes built as a summer palace during the Babylonian Captivity. Forced to flee the political tumult of Rome from 1305-1378, Pope Clement V, a Frenchman, and his successor John XXII, left indelible marks on the history of wine by planting vines around their château and producing some of the medieval world’s most noteworthy wines. Later, during the 1920s, Châteauneuf-du-Pape would once again play a significant role in the history of wine by voluntarily adopting a set of controls and guidelines put forth by Baron Le Roy of Château Fortia. This action became the model for the entire French system of Appellation Control and nearly all other subsequent attempts to guarantee the authenticity of wine and improve the wine of individual geographic locales.
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