Maison Tardieu-Laurent, located in Lourmarin an hour Southwest of Avignon, is a négociant working with 60 to 70 growers throughout the Rhône valley.
2010 Tardieu-Laurent Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vielles Vignes is made from 85% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre and 5% Syrah, where the grapes are culled from vines having an age of 80, 50 and 30 years, respectively. This is really a knock-out. A very dense and powerful wine, yet in great balance. I had this to barbecued rib-eye and asparagus this Saturday. Great combo. The smell is beautiful: blackberries, plum, garrigue, warm stones. No fining or filtration of the wine is performed. Intense, full-bodied and yet elegant. Loooongg finish. Just the right bitter twist brought on by Grenache in the finish to keep it on the ground. This should age well. But what the hell, with three hours of airing, it is instantly accessible. 93p.
A couple of weeks ago, I also had the sister wine 2009 Tardieu-Laurent Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Speciale. 100% Grenache from vines being 80-100 years old! Unfortunately, I do not have any tasting notes, but I can reminisce a sensation of blueberry muffin; very fruit (or berry) driven. An extraordinary wine. Extremely soft and velvety. More elegant than the Vielles Vignes and even scoring higher. 94p.