An extremely limited cuvee of around 2,000 bottles, the Chateauneuf du Pape Le Secret du Sabon is, year in and year out, one of the top ten Chateauneuf du Papes produced. From vines well over 100 years old, mostly from the sector of Chateauneuf du Pape known as La Crau, Jean-Jacques Sabon is not sure what the actual blend is, although it is mostly Grenache, because at the time of the original planting it was common practice to mix in many different varietals. The 2005 Chateauneuf du Pape Le Secret du Sabon has turned out to be a sublime wine. With the essence of beef blood intermixed with Provencal herbs, creme de cassis, blackberry and raspberry, the wine is dense, full-bodied, elegant, but at the same time very powerful, masculine, and rich. It is certainly one of the vintage’s most compelling wines, and needs a good 5-7 years of bottle age. It should last for 30 or more years. Sadly, these wines are very limited, but should you latch onto a bottle, these are great classics of France and of the Rhone Valley.
The best showing yet from this cuvee (I rated in 96+ earlier this year), the 2005 Châteauneuf du Pape Le Secret de Sabon is a brilliant success and easily in the top handful of wines in the vintage. Made from mostly Grenache (it’s a field blend and the exact blend is unknown) and aged 18 months in demi-muids, it offers a full-bodied, powerful, yet perfectly balanced feel on the palate to go with knockout notes of black raspberry, currants, garrigue, licorice and Provencal herbs. Still youthful, yet drinking spectacularly today, it will continue to knock your socks off for another decade or more.