Bottle Notes, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

2003 Vieux Donjon – Bottle Notes

2003 Vieux Donjon CdP

Vieux Donjon was formed in 1966 by Marcel Michel. The current iteration came about in 1979 with the marriage of Lucien and Marie José Michel. Both Lucien and Marie José’s parents owned vineyards in the region, and those holdings were combined to form Vieux Donjon. The domaine covers fourteen hectares of vineyards, thirteen planted to red grapes and one planted to white.

2003 is an exceptionally controversial vintage in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In a word it was “hot” in the Southern Rhone. The wines of the vintage were widely lauded by both the Wine Advocate and the Wine Spectator, but many collectors think the wines are atypical with roasted, raisiny, pruny qualities. You will not find any of those descriptors in the ’03 Vieux Donjon we enjoyed tonight.

Light in color. A spicy, gamey nose with lots of ripe red fruits, Kirsch, garrigue, baking spice, raspberry, plums, stones, cherry liqueur and olives on the palate. This wine has long, fine grained, silky tannins and should age effortlessly for another 3-5 years.

As with all wines, you should seek out initial reviews in publications like the Wine Advocate and also look for current tasting notes on sites like Cellartracker. Ultimately though, you need to trust your palate and what you taste in the glass. Regarding the ’03 Vieux Donjon, I have no doubt this exceptional wine has a long life ahead of it.

The current 2010 vintage is highly recommended and runs around $65.

My rating: 93 points

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