Robert Parker 98P
Starting off the reds and easily the best example of this cuvee since the 2001, the 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Laurence is incredible stuff. Deep, rich and layered, with copious notions of smoked meats, licorice, ground pepper, spice and saddle leather, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, terrific fruit intensity and a rich, mouth-coating texture. Hard to resist now, it should nevertheless have two decades of longevity. Drink now-2029. This classic, benchmark estate for traditionally made wines is run by the talented, no-nonsense Laurence Feraud and her father Paul. While I struggle to think of a bad vintage here, 2010 certainly has to rank near the top of the heap and both the Cuvee Reservee and Cuvee da Capo are truly stunning, world-class efforts. 2011 is strong here as well, and should be consumed while you wait on the 2010s to come around. The 2012s are more in the style of the 2010s, with slightly more reserved aromatics, solid purity and beautifully fresh profiles. They too should be more accessible in their youth than the 2010s. A new development for this estate is the roughly 100+ new acres of Cotes du Rhone and Cotes du Rhone Villages that have been purchased just south of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, roughly 4 miles from the domaine. Formerly called Domaine de la Jouve, it lies just outside the town of Sorgues and borders the Rhone River on its western edge. Now called Chateau Pegau, the wines from here include a white Cotes du Rhone, the Cuvee Lone, a red Cotes du Rhone call Cuvee Maclure and a red Cotes du Rhone Villages called Cuvee Setier. Laurence’s negociant label is call Selection Laurence Feraud and consists of purchased grapes from throughout the Southern Rhone. They always show traditional characters and can represent solid values.