A perfect wine (and equal to the profound 2007), the 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape Deus-Ex Machina was cropped at under 20 hectoliters per hectare. Extremely full-bodied and dense purple-colored, it exhibits notes of blueberries, blackberries, licorice, incense, camphor, vanillin and chocolate-covered espresso beans (no doubt from the new demi-muids in which the Mourvedre component was aged).
The tannins are noticeable, but relatively silky. The most muscular and formidable 2010 in this portfolio, its expansiveness, mind-boggling richness and intensity, and 60-second finish are the stuff of legends. Forget this remarkable Chateauneuf du Pape for five years and drink it over the following thirty years.
Since 2003, when Pascal and Vincent Maurel took over this estate after their father’s passing, Clos Saint-Jean has gone from strength to strength. They have always owned great vineyards, and they had the foresight to hire a brilliant consulting oenologist, Philippe Cambie. The result has been instant stardom, and a succession of world-class wines. Recently they also partnered with the California Central Coast’s renowned Manfred Krankl of Sine Qua Non to produce another luxury cuvee of Chateauneuf du Pape from mostly Mourvedre called Chimere. A large estate for Chateauneuf du Pape (over 110 acres), Clos Saint-Jean’s history dates back to 1900, with the first Maurel taking control in 1930. The majority of their holdings are in the southeastern sector of the appellation, including significant parcels in La Crau, Les Combes and St.-Jean. In top vintages, Clos Saint-Jean produces five cuvees of red Chateauneuf du Pape, and the 2011s are successful across the board. There will not be a Sanctus Sanctorum in this vintage.