Châteauneuf-du-Pape was one of the first French winegrowing regions to be hit by phylloxera, in 1866, and over two thirds of its vineyards were destroyed in the proceeding decade. However, by 1895, vines were already being replanted on grafted, phylloxera-resistant, American rootstock. Some of these vines are still around today and they are producing some seriously fine quality fruit, albeit in very small quantities. The soil of this very special vineyard consists of a layer of marine molasse (sandstone) from the Miocene period, covered with Alpine alluvium. The presence of many round stones, known as galets, bears evidence of the time when the Rhône, then a torrent, tore fragments of rock from the Alps and deposited them along its course. A 100% Grenache cuvée is unusual in the area, as all too often its wines can be overly alcoholic and tricky to age. Not so at Maucoil. Here, the complexity and concentration of such old vine fruit is complimented by 12 months in a mix of 2, 3 and 4 year-old demi-muids.
Rich, ripe and subtly sweet fruit; dark, velvety and alluring, becoming more savoury towards the finish with mineral/graphite notes, dark roast coffee, and floral hints. Very ripe and fine-grained tannins provide a drying note. Very good indeed.
Beef daube with mashed potatoes.