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Saint Prefert, Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2017

"Proprietress Isabel Ferrando has taken her Saint Prefert estate to France’s highest level, and she’s unquestionably making some of the most profound wines on earth today, including both reds and whites. The Reserve Auguste Favier comes from 60- to 100-year-old vines and is based largely on Grenache with around 15% Cinsault, aged all in older barrels. This cuvée always shows a seamless, elegant profile. Lastly, and what I would consider her top wine, the Collection Charles Giraud is always a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Mourvèdre, with the Grenache aged in tank and the Mourvèdre in demi-muids. I’ve also included her Châteauneuf-du-Pape Colombis cuvée here, which is released under the Isabel Ferrando label. It’s 100% Grenache from the sandy soils of the Colombis lieu-dit located on the western edge of the appellation. As I’ve written in the past, readers looking for the essence of Grenache shouldn’t miss this beauty. While the style changed slightly in 2009, when she started including more stems and harvesting earlier, these latest releases show sensational depth of fruit and texture, and are almost overflowing with Provençal charm. Today, she is assisted by consultant Baptiste Olivier, who’s increasingly working with the top estates in the region. Madame Ferrando is at the top of her game."
— Jeb Dunnuck

"2017 has turned out to be a brilliant vintage that surpasses 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. The defining features of the vintage are a cold spell in April that decimated yields for old vine Grenache (and Syrah and Mourvèdre to a lesser extent), followed by a hot, incredibly dry summer that received a paltry 17 millimeters of rain from July to September. For comparison, 2007, which was one of the driest years on record, received 35 millimeters of rain in the same period. The total rain for the entire 2017 growing season was 185 mm, or 7.2 inches. Harvest for the whites started in August with an Indian summer allowing vignerons to wait for full phenolic maturity, with harvest stretching into October (and November) for the later ripening varieties. Looking at the wines, this is a classic vintage for the region, and the wines ooze Provençal charm and sunny characters with their spicy, peppery, garrigue-laced aromas and flavors. The wines lean more toward the red-fruited end of the spectrum and have put on mid-palate weight and depth since I tasted from barrels last year, which is a good sign."
— Jeb Dunnuck

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