Paul Jaboulet-Aîné's Châteauneuf-du-Pape Les Cèdres 2011 is a full-bodied red with rich red fruit and spice that is ready to drink now.
Anthony Gismondi's guest note: Les Cèdres is an 80/10/10 Grenache, Cinsault and Mourvèdre grown over several different terroirs using bio-dynamic practices. The Grenache comes off the clay and limestone terraces, the Mourvèdre is on sand while the Cinsault pokes through the large rounded river rocks they call galets. The 2011 vintage looks to be an early drinker. Expect rich black cherry and raisiny notes on the nose and palate. The texture is soft with a wild game, pepper, garrigue finish. Drink now or keep for 3-5 years.
Based in Hermitage for many generations, the Jaboulets are one of the great old wine families of the Rhone. Always renowned for robust Northern Rhone reds made from Syrah, the current generation has focused on the southern Rhone, and very prominently in Châteauneuf. The 2014 Les Cèdres is made primarily from old vine Grenache (80%), bolstered with equal doses of Cinsault and Mourvèdre; together they create an epic ‘sum greater than its parts’ blend. Les Cèdres has an emphatically Old World array of aromas and flavours. The nose presents a lovely ‘dusty hillside’ mix of herbal and earthy scents including flowers, leather, plums, honey, and smoke. In classic Châteauneuf style, it is plush and mouth-filling, with mellow tannins and a long and satisfying finish. Delicious now—especially if given adequate breathing time in a decanter (that is, several hours’ worth), and served with grilled lamb—but it will benefit immeasurably if it is properly cellared for six to eight years or even more. Biodynamic farming gives this impressive red a special vitality.