2010 Châteauneuf-du-Pape: Another Monster In The Making

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 05-09-2012

Châteauneuf-du-Pape has done it yet again. Though it’s starting to sound like a broken record, 2010 looks to be another wonderful vintage from the region.

This marks the 10th time since 1998 that the Southern Rhone has produced wines of remarkable quality. Only 2002 and 2008 were disappointments with 2003 being variable.

All the vintages are different, of course. The wines from 2007 and 2009 are quite lush, all marked by  generous fruit. They’re structured, but have generally come across as more fruitful wines that provide straightforward, hedonistic joy. For me, some of 2007 and 2009 CdPs have had more in common with New World wines than what’s traditionally associated with the Southern Rhone. They’re delicious, to be sure, but haven’t provided the real thrills that Châteauneuf-du-Pape can bring.

The 2010 vintage appears to be right up my alley. I have had the chance to sample around 30 different wines already, and plan on sampling more as they come in.

Based on my sampling, this vintage will be marked by its structure along with real nice Provençal spice notes. The bottled wines remind me of 2005, another vintage that is meant for the long haul. The 2010s aren’t quite as dark, but they do possess good fruit and palate thrashing tannins. I’ve also been impressed with the depth of the 2010s I’ve sampled — they’re not as sleek and upfront as many of the 2009s and 2007s.

Even the more fruit-forward 2010s have a real nice savory quality. I just didn’t want to stop smelling the 2010s I’ve sampled thus far.

It’s amazing that this vintage even happened. The winter was very wet and the spring was both wet and cool. This was such a problem that many Grenache vines experienced shatter before the end of July! Most vintners assumed that they’d have a small harvest, simply salvaging what they could.

The summer was amazingly dry, though. In fact, July and August 2010 were marked by the driest recorded rainfall in those months since 1871! These dry months likely saved the vintage. Since the soil had plenty of water, the vines were able to handle the lack of rain — and the grapes were able to catch up.

Most 2010 Châteauneuf-du-Pape will make it to the retail shelves by late fall. While it’s hard to predict how the big publications will review this vintage, be sure to get on these wines before the scores start to come in, or you may miss out.

Of course, it does seem that one can always wait for another quality vintage from the Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but one can’t go wrong by stocking up on a good number of 2010s. Here is a link to all of my 2010 notes, but below are some of the highlights of the vintage:


2010 Domaine du Pégaü Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Réservée
France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Nose: Dark and searching nose filled with black fruits, black cherries, liqueur, garrigue, and loads of lavender with a touch of spices as well. Very tight and taught with a tremendous amount of depth. It’s a bit unforgiving and it took several goes just to get everything.

Taste: Absolutely shredding tannins. They are harsh and cover up what is a real deep and great medium/full feel. Excellent depth and showing the class one would expect with tones of garrigue, briar tones, black cherries, liqueur, and loads of garrigue.

Overall: This is a brutally young Pegau. Still, it has the makings of being an absolute monster. This will require a lot of time, but the upside is extremely high and the floor is high right now as well. (94 pts.)

2010 Domaine de la Charbonnière Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Spéciale Les Hautes Brusquières
France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Nose: Much different nose from the other charbonnieres with a more lifted and feminine style to it with tones of spices, lavender, florals, red currants and dark red fruits.

Taste: vVery silky and stylish medium feel, but with very good tannins to back it up as well. Well balanced with really good tones of garrigue, lavender, red currants, dark red fruits and incense

Overall: This is a real pretty and young CdP. This definitely needs time, but it is very attractive at the moment. Different from its stable mates, but different in a very good way. (93 pts.)

2010 Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée de mon Aïeul
France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Nose: Rich, ripe and extracted nose filled with tones of black and red fruits, spices, liqueur, and tones of hot stones. A lot of depth and while it is forward, it is on the tight side as well.

Taste: Full bodied with very chewy tannins and lower acidity. Very plush on the feel behind the tannins with great depth and extracted tones of black fruits, red fruits, spices and liqueur tones.

Overall: Great depth and insanely young. The tannins certainly show the youth, but the fruit of the wine is very desirable right now for those that want it. (93 pts.)

2010 Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape
France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape 

Nose: Very savory nose, filled with tones of black fruits, dark red cherries, red fruits, some bits of tobacco and garrigue. Excellent depth and it is a bit on the tight side.

Taste: Very well balanced, medium feel, with very chewy tannins. Excellent depth with great tones of black fruits, garrigue, tobacco, a bit of leather and some dark red cherries.

Overall: this is showing very well now, but it has much to give for later. Great profile on both the nose and palate with excellent depth as well. (93 pts.)

2010 Mas de Boislauzon Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée du Quet
France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Nose: Very pure nose that is on the tight side with tones of red and black fruits, hot stones, lavender and liqueur tones.

Taste: medium/full bodied with really good depth. Chewy tannins with great tones of spices, red and black fruits, some lavender and liqueur tones as well.

Overall: very young, but a real showstopper in waiting. Well balanced on both the nose and palate with great pure tones as well. (93 pts.)


Comments (4)

  1. Bit uncomfortable with the hard sell for the vintage, it’s a new direction for Terroirist, but the tasting notes are really well written.

    Out of curiosity, how were these wines assembled? Samples for review?

  2. Haven’t had any 2005 Chateauneuf in a while, but the 2005s from Vinsobres, Gigondas, and Vacqueyras are pretty gorgeous right now. 2010 seems a little softer at least in those villages.

  3. Cody- I don’t have the breakdowns from pegau as they weren’t included in the tasting booklet. I do for everything else and just forgot to put them in when I was putting all of my notes into CT. I’ll gladly give the breakdowns on any wines that you are interested in that I have notes on.

    Tom- thanks for the heads up on the other villages. The tastings I was at didn’t have that many of the other areas except for various Cotes Du Rhone villages.

  4. Cody: Keith sampled these wines at various trade tastings. So they weren’t technically press samples, but nonetheless, it should have been noted.

    Thanks for the comment!