Chateau Rayas is one of the most famous estates in Chateauneuf du Pape, in France’s southern Rhone Valley. Founded in the late 19th century by Albert Reynaud, a lawyer and notary from Avignon, the estate is today run Emmanuel Reynaud, the fourth generation of the family to take control of the 56-acre estate with its 37 acres of vineyards. About three-quarters of the estate’s wines are reds and are comprised mostly of Grenache. The Reynaud family also owns and operates Chateau de Fonsalette and Chateau des Tours, both producers of Rhone Valley wines.
Robert M. Parker Jr. has called Chateau Rayas “one of the mythical names of France” because of its outstanding Chateauneuf du Papes.
I recently had the chance to connect with good friend and fellow wine blogger Adam Japko. We went to dinner at Canlis, without question one of Seattle’s finest restaurants. Adam had the generous foresight to send a bottle of 2005 Rayas in advance.
The wine was surprisingly light red in color. I was expecting something darker and more brooding as that has been my experience recently with other 05 CdP’s. The nose on the wine was phenomenal. Slightly funky at first, it blew off to reveal bacon fat, minerals and flowers. The palate had layers upon layers of blood, iron, kirsch, plum, game, band-aid, asian spices and cherries. This wine is the proverbial iron fist in the velvet glove. Elegant but at the same time powerful. Silky, lush, breathtaking and beguiling. The finish is long and plush. The wine should age gracefully for at least another 20 years. My rating: 97 points.
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