Janasse Revisited

I had my last in-stock bottle of 2008 Domaine de la Janasse Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Tradition this evening. Dammit! Is this the best CNdP standard cuvée around?  

Sure, there are other “standard” cuvées that rival this one: Beaucastel, Morodorée, Clos de Papes, etc., but these are generally +500 SEK wines. Again, the 2008 Domaine de la Janasse Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Tradition is fantastic. One more time, it comes to show that “off year” 2008 beats allegedly exceptional vintages 2007 and 2009; instead of an over-the-top, 16 % ABV jawbreaker, you get an elegant, silky and highly sophisticated wine (well, it’s still 14,5 % ABV…after all, this is Southern Rhône).

Fortunately, I have three bottles of the prestige bottling 2009 Chaupin being a 100% Grenache from the top-notch vineyard of the same name and another three of the even more prestigious bottling Vielles Vignes producing fruit from vines over 80 years old. I am not likely to open these bottles within the next 10 years. In addition to being cuvées worthy of bottle maturation, 2009 is one hell of a sturdy year. Even less ambitious brands are likely to improve with further maturation.

So how was the 2008 Janasse CNdP Tradition this time around? Very   consistent. On the nose, it has blackberries, dark cherries, cured meat, spices. Smooth, round and balanced with well-integrated tannins. It is rather unusual to come across a CNdP as well-balanced as Janasse. Les Cailloux is the closest comparison I come to think of. Silky and elegant. It’s like drinking velvet. Deep red, dense and complex. Black cherries, licorice and white pepper on the palate. Just perfect. 92p.


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