Bottle Notes, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

2004 Clos Saint Jean Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Combe des Fous – Bottle Notes

Clos Saint Jean was founded in 1900 in Chateauneuf du Pape and is still a small, family-run operation. The estate produces 12,500 cases annually. Brothers Pascal and Vincent Maurel run the business. Clos Saint Jean primarily produces Chateauneuf du Pape, including the Vieilles Vignes and several special cuvees including the Combe des Fous and Deus-Ex Machina. In 2002, Philippe Cambie was hired as consulting oenologist.

La Combe des Fous comes primarily from old vine Grenache planted at the start of the 20th century. The blend is usually 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Cinsault and 10% Vaccarese.

Crimson in color. 14.3% ABV. Big, brooding nose of dark fruits, smoke, Port and roasted herbs. Full bodied with ample acidity. Eerily similar to a well aged Tawny Port. Black cherry, kirsch liqueur and herbes de Provence on the palate. Tremendous length on the finish. Truly a baffling wine. Maybe it will shine with a little more time in the cellar. Not a flawed wine but not really to my taste either. I’ll wait for several more years before I open my last bottle.

My rating: 89 points.

La Combe des Fous is expensive. The wine will set you back around $100 in top vintages. I look for deals that periodically arise on WineBid.

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