1996 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Reservee Domaine du Pegau

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Average critic rating : 87.0 points



Similarly-styled, the 1996 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Reserve was the most straightforward and mid-weight in the retrospective, yet still a delicious wine. Possessing pretty blackberry, Provencal herbs, leathers, and earthy notes, it has medium-bodied richness, good overall balance and a clean finish. It’s mature and should be consumed over the coming couple of years as well. ||Created in 1987 (although there were some earlier bottling released) Domaine du Pegau is run today by the father/daughter team of Paul and Laurence Feraud. When setting up this retrospective, I was shocked when Laurence Feraud told me she had never done a vertical tasting like this. While I know they drink their older cuvees often, I think the idea of opening so many wines for one tasting could be seen as wasteful, and in reality, it is. However, it’s also incredibly educational, and as Laurence commented, shows the story of the domaine. I was thrilled to take part in this tasting, which also included Laurence’s parents, Paul and Odette. eRobertParker.com.August, 2014

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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