2016-C Domaine Juliette Avril, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone Valley, France (750ml)

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Domaine Juliette Avril is a family-run estate with deep roots in France’s Rhône Valley. Their ancestry dates back to 1756 and was involved in the creation of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation and its original AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) regulations. The estate is currently run by Marie Lucile Brun who succeeded her mother, Juliette Avril and Marie’s son, Stephan Brun, who controls the estate’s commercial, administrative and viticulture departments. The estate spans 38 hectares of vineyards (over half of which are 50+ years old) including 22 in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 6 in Côtes du Ventoux and 2 in Vin de Pays de Vaucluse. In Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the estate produces one white blend of Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Clairette and Bourboulenc and two reds: an old-vine Grenache called ‘Cuvée Maxence’ and a Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge based on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre which we were thrilled to bring in for this quarter’s Red Cellar Trio wine club! It is extremely rare that we stumble across a Châteauneuf-du-Pape at this price point, not to mention a beautifully layered and graceful one!

This 2016 vintage is comprised of 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre and spent 12 months aging in 600-litre oak casks. Aromas of black currant, raspberry coulis and white pepper greet you on the nose while the medium-bodied palate offers more sweet fruit notes as in candied cherry, baked red apple and dried fig. The tannins are soft and velvety, and only a subtle note of clove is evident from the year spent in oak. More savory notes of Herbes de Provence and black licorice develop on the mid-palate and carry over to the very long and pleasantly spicy finish. We expect that this easily loveable and very polished style will fly off the shelves, so we urge you to snag some before it’s gone and also recommend that you pair it with a juicy, garlic-studded roasted pork tenderloin or herb-marinated, grilled rack of lamb!

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