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Average critic rating : 91.0 points
The opaque ruby/purple-tinged 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Olivets may be the finest Les Olivets the Sabons have yet made. It possesses full-bodied power as well as lots of kirsch, Provencal herb, balsam wood and foresty notes in a long, rich, textured format that builds incrementally in the mouth, finishing with a lot of glycerin and fruit. This 2010 should easily last for 10-12+ years. ||This has long been one of my favorite estates in the southern Rhone. Like many of the old families of Chateauneuf du Pape, the Sabons have been estate bottling since 1921. They own nearly 44 acres of vines divided among 15 different parcels, with some of their most significant holdings in the famed La Crau sector of the appellation. The style here is a brilliant combination of the best traditional techniques married to a handful of modern nuances. I witnessed and was profoundly touched by the following story and decided to share it with readers. One of the Sabon brothers, Jean-Jacques, died last year after a heroic fight with cancer. I knew Jean-Jacques well as he was one of the first vignerons to embrace me, and help educate me about the different terroirs, styles of wine, and the history of Chateauneuf du Pape. I remember taking a dear friend to visit the Domaine Roger Sabon in 2002. My friend wanted to visit Roger Sabon because he had just lost his beautiful wife after a long battle with brain cancer. As we were tasting in the cellars, my friend wanted to taste Le Secret des Sabon, a wine his wife thought might be some sort of miracle cure for her terminal disease. Not surprisingly, when Jean-Jacques took his pipette and poured a sample for my friend, he broke down. As Jean-Jacques and I walked to a distant corner of the cave to give him some privacy, Jean-Jacques said that never in his life had he seen a person moved so much by a wine he and his family had made. He said it gave him goose pimples, and he himself nearly lost it emotionally, as did I. It was a rare and revealing look at an extraordinary man. Jean-Jacques Sabon will be forever missed as he did so much for this appellation.||As I wrote last year, the 2009s were super at Domaine Roger Sabon. Even better, the 2010s may be the greatest vintage ever produced, including the 2007 and 2005. The 2011 vintage appears to be very strong as well. There are four Chateauneuf du Pape cuvees, including the limited production (150 cases), luxurious, over-the-top Le Secret des Sabon, which comes from nearly 110-year-old vines, and is a field blend of largely Grenache and many other authorized grapes. Wine Advocate.October, 2012
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