Domaine de la Janasse is a relatively young estate, started by Aimé Sabon back in 1973, and can be regarded as a producer of a “modern” style Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
The 2008 Domaine de la Janasse Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Tradition is just fantastic. One of the best standard CNdPs I have ever had. One of my other absolute favorites is Domaine du Pegau Cuvée Réservé, and it would be difficult to find two CNdPs which are more dissimilar. While the Janasse is easy-going and fruit-driven, the Pegau is meaty and bretty; a barn in a bottle. Speaking of “standard” cuvées in this context may be a bit silly, the 2008 Janasse is 329 SEK and the 2008 Pegau is 399 SEK (released in March) at State-owned Systembolaget, and 2008 is considered a lesser vintage selling at lower prices, so we are not talking inexpensive wines.
However, both Pegau and Janasse come in two premium cuvées in favorable vintages; Pegau produces the Laurence and the Da Capo (for details click the above referenced link). I had the opportunity to try Janasse’s 2009 Tradition as well as the Chaupin being a 100% Grenache from the top-notch vineyard of the same name and the Vielles Vignes producing fruit from vines over 80 years old. These are amazing wines and really something else. Highly recommended. There are a few bottles left at SB. The 2009 vintage produced powerful wines similar to the year 2007. However, I believe most 2009s will benefit from cellaring, because they are generally quite noisy.
2008 on the other hand is instantly approachable and I think most of the 2008s I’ve tried won’t benefit from more than 5 years of cellaring. And there is really no need to store them, many of them are perfect today. The temperature of the vintage was between 1.5 and 2 ° C below season average, giving many of the wines a more elegant – and less edgy- note. Further, it appears as if many of the wines of 2008 has an ABV which is about one percentage unit lower than 2007 and 2009, where the ABV reaches 15.5 and even 16%, which in my opinion simply is a tad too much. However, you may have to go for well-reputed winemakers for the 2008s since not all producers are likely to produce great wine in this relatively difficult vintage.
So…how is the 2008 Janasse CNdP Tradition? On the nose, it has blackberries, a little meat, spices; garrigue and white pepper. Very round and balanced. Perfectly integrated tannins. Deep, deep red and dense with a lovely and gentle taste of licorice. A killer wine. 92p.