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Average critic rating : 87.0 points
The 2003 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Marie Beurrier, from a troublesome and challenging vintage for Henri Bonneau, is a lightweight, medium-bodied effort displaying attractive fig, underbrush and loamy soil notes and a moderate finish. It’s a competent but hardly inspiring wine from the inimitable Monsieur Bonneau.||Henri Bonneau, who is now 70 years of age, continues to make Chateauneuf du Pape the way it was made 50-100 years ago ... long cask aging in old barrels and bottling it, as he says jokingly, “when I need money.” A visit to these cellars is always one of my most rewarding of the year. The barrels and foudres that will probably be used in the Cuvee Marie Beurrier all have the letter “G” on them and everything with Reserve des Celestins potential has the letter “P” on it. Bonneau went through a litany of the issues that confronted the 2009 vintage, particularly the drought that affected much of the Grenache planted in many of Chateauneuf du Pape’s terroirs, and he reminded me that he had predicted it would be a problem when I saw him last year. Bonneau continues to claim the 2007s are too showy and flamboyant to ever develop into a great, long-lived vintage. Wine Advocate.October, 2010
One of the legends of the Rhone, Bonneau is the 12th generation to produce wine in Chateaunef du Pape and is now aided by his son Marcel.
Bonneau own 17ha of vineyard, including 5.2ha in La Crau, Chateauneuf’s finest terroir and 0.75ha in the stony Couthezon. Production here is tiny, with a total of 1,500 cases in a good year. If the vintage isn’t deemed high enough in quality then a wine isn’t produced or it is declassified. Unusually for Chateauneuf, Bonneau leaves the stems in, providing structure, texture and character to the wine.
The top cuvee is Reserve des Celestins – a huge, formidable wine bottled without filtration and released only when deemed ready (generally after 6 years in old oak). It has an unsurpassed power and richness and it is without doubt one of the finest of all Chateauneufs.
“…if someone were to ask what is the quintessential traditionally styled Chateauneuf du Pape at the highest quality level, the answer can only be Henri Bonneau’s Reserve des Celestins.. Henri Bonneau is one of the planet's greatest and most distinctive winemakers…the appellation’s greatest guardian of traditional winemaking. Long live Henri Bonneau!” Robert Parker
Cuvee Marie Beurrier is a slightly lighter bodied, more elegant and feminine wine, but is still fuller than most.
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