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Domaine de Marcoux: 2020 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (and friends) From a Biodynamic Artisan

Domaine de Marcoux: 2020 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (and friends) From a Biodynamic Artisan

★ Producteur de très grande vins “Marcoux’s are amongst the top wines of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation. They were one of the first adopters of biodynamics. Here, the wines have a natural and a rare depth, an energy and power that does not rely on artificial breeding.” Le Guide des Meilleurs Vins de France 2023

“[This] biodynamically farmed vineyard has risen to the top of Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s quality hierarchy. The two red wines produced have been stunning, with the regular cuvée of Châteauneuf-du-Pape one of the finest in the appellation, and the limited production Cuvée Vieilles Vignes one of the world’s truly magnificent wines.” Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate

“For value, shrewd consumers should reach for the Côtes du Rhône and Lirac bottlings, which can come close in quality to the blended Chateauneuf. The Vieilles Vignes is often in another quality realm altogether, but it’s priced accordingly and produced in small quantities.” Joe Czerwinski, The Wine Advocate

Given the marked change in style heralded by the cool 2021 vintage, the precocious 2020 harvest may find itself grouped in a power trio with the preceding two years. Yet, while the ’20 vintage is clearly another superb year for Southern Rhône, in our experience the wines bear only a slight resemblance to the decadent 2018s and supercharged 2019s. And, this grower’s 2020 wines certainly have a personality all of their own. Sophie Armenier speaks of her latest release Châteauneuf as “elegant, supple and balanced, combining freshness and delicacy”. The Marcoux 2020s are wines of vibrancy, precision and real drinkability, with silky tannins and graceful acidity contributing to subtle structures: they are deep and flavourful wines without being colossal.

The Côtes-du-Rhône and white Châteauneuf-du-Pape hail from 2021, a perplexing year in the vineyards that made the Rhône’s recent harvests look serene. Mas de Libian’s Hélène Thibon has described this year as a throwback to her childhood’s cooler and lower alcohol vintages, while across both the north and south divides, Michel Chapoutier has talked about the “almost-forgotten characteristics” of his 2021 wines. What this means for the grand vin from Marcoux remains to be seen (and Vincent Estevenin has very high hopes). Still, the story of the two cuvées below is prefaced by delicious, succulent flesh buoyed by great vitality and energy.

Alongside the classic release and the return of Marcoux’s epic Lirac, we’re delighted to offer a small museum parcel of Marcoux’s 2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape. On release, Sophie Armenier compared this fine year to 2001, another terrific cellaring vintage. When it first hit the market, the wine’s combination of good natural acidity and ripe tannins promised a successful life ahead and, in short, this 2015 is in a very good place.

For those new to this grower, this tiny, artisanal domaine was the first in Châteauneuf to convert to biodynamics some 30 years ago. While the prime focus is given to the vineyards, Sophie Armenier’s subtle hand in the cellar must also take some credit: natural fermentation; gentle extractions; concrete fermentation; and the absence of any new oak all play a vital role in quality and balance. More information and the full available range can be found on our Marcoux page.

 

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