1989 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Laurence Domaine du Pegau

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Average critic rating : 94.5 points



Bottled at what I suspect is the whim of Paul Feraud, the 1989 and 1990 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Laurence were tasted side by side with the Cuvee Reservee. Although the Cuvee Laurence is no better than the Cuvee Reservee, they are more evolved, with more complexity from the extended cask aging. Ultimately, I think the Cuvee Reservee will surpass them, since the development of that wine will take place in the bottle, not in wood, but it is more backward and less evolved. The 1989 Cuvee Laurence is slightly sweeter, richer, and more opulent than its younger sibling. However, both wines are enormously constituted, thick, rich, classic, old style Chateauneuf du Papes the likes of which are rarely seen today. Both wines carry 15+% alcohol. They will be worth a special effort to find and purchase. |I reported last year that there was the possibility that a single vineyard cuvee would be made from a 5-acre parcel of vines planted in 1905 in La Crau. After giving this some thought, Paul and his daughter, Laurence Feraud, decided they would prefer to keep this component in their Cuvee Reservee rather than bottle it separately. Readers who like naturally made wines should also be aware that very little SO2 is utilized in the wines of Domaine du Pegau, and the vineyard is farmed organically.|This wine was tasted between June 1 and June 16, 1996.|Importers: Dan Kravitz, Hand Picked Selections, Warrenton, VA; tel. (703) 347-3471 and J. et R. Selections, Mt. Pleasant, MI; tel. (517) 772-3695 Wine Advocate.August, 1996

Domaine du Pegau: The Importance

As a benchmark estate for the traditional winemaking style of the Rhône Valley, Domaine du Pegau has established itself as one of the most sought-after and finest producers of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Run by father-daughter duo Paul and Laurence Feraud, the winery has been applauded by Robert Parker for their “impressive track record” and consistent production of “blockbuster, chewy, old-style Châteauneuf-du-Papes in much the same manner as those of Feraud’s mentor, Henri Bonneau.” Parker has also described Pegau’s wines as “some of the longest-lived, most interesting wines of the appellation.”


The winery has produced an exquisite range of classics that have been celebrated by Robert Parker as “massive wines that hit the heights in the great vintages yet do surprisingly well in the lighter years.” Domaine du Pegau is therefore a go-to in the very top vintages, but is also a safe pair of hands in lesser vintages as well. This is backed-up by Jancis Robinson’s Oxford Companion to Wine, in which Domaine de Pegau features in her shortlist of the seven most notable wine producers in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.


Domaine du Pegau’s Cuvée da Capo is the jewel in the crown. It has received perfect scores from Wine Advocate for four separate vintages, with Robert Parker rating the 2000 vintage “among some of the greatest Châteauneuf-du-Papes ever made.” His colleague Jeb Dunnuck has also heaped similar praise on the winery, describing the Cuvée da Capo and Cuvée Reservée as “truly stunning, world-class efforts.”


Domaine du Pegau: The Insight

The legendary Cuvée da Capo is produced from the estate’s oldest Grenache vines rooted in some of Rhône’s most coveted terroir on the La Crau plateau. As Pegau’s most renowned wine, the Cuvée da Capo is produced only in top vintages and limited to around just 500 cases, which is why Jeff Leve, of The Wine Cellar Insider calls it “one of the most expensive and in demand wines in the entire Rhône appellation.”


Pegau’s Cuvée Laurence and Cuvée Reservée are both outstanding. They are essentially the same wine, but the former is aged in wooden casks for an additional 18-24 months before bottling. Only around 650 cases of Cuvée Laurence are produced each vintage.


In 2003 and 2010 the domaine made a spectacular magnum-only cuvée, Pegau Inspiration, made from the best barrels on the estate. Only around 250 numbered magnums of this rarity were produced.


As a charming deviation from their commitment to tradition, the domaine has incorporated music into their wines in recent years. Laurence Feraud often refers to the “the symphony of Châteauneuf”, the 13 grape varieties used to produce the Cuvée da Capo are each like separate instruments brought together in orchestral harmony. The name Cuvée da Capo comes from a musical term meaning to repeat a previous passage. In 2014 Domaine du Pegau added a white wine, Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc Cuvée A Tempo, to their repertoire. This is equally musical, with a unique theme song written for the wine that plays when the label’s barcode is scanned from a mobile phone.


Domaine du Pegau: The Background

Since the seventeenth century ancestors of the Feraud family have been perfecting their time-honoured viticulture methods in the Southern Rhône Valley. Grapes were hand-harvested before they were fermented complete with stems. No filtration or fining was carried out to maintain the robustness of these classic Châteauneuf-du-Papes. These same methods have been upheld throughout the generations to ensure the authenticity of these wines is not diminished.


Elvira and Leon Feraud were the first in the family to purchase vines. When they died, their youngest son Paul inherited a plot. He and his daughter Laurence, who joined him after finishing business school, have since expanded the estate to incorporate over 20 hectares, including plots in Bédarrides, Courthézon and La Solitude. Laurence changed the name to Domaine du Pegau –an ancient term for a terracotta wine jug found during excavations of the Palais de Papes d’Avignon.  Laurence continues to take on more of the domaine’s responsibility each year and has ambitiously expanded Pegau’s production by pairing up with Domaine Les Cailloux’s Andre Brunel to produce the Cotes du Rhône négociant line Feraud Brunel. In 2012 the domaine also added an additional 60 hectares of vines in Cotes du Rhône ensuring the Ferauds will be able to select the best grapes for top cuvées while still providing top quality for all of their bottlings. 

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