Back-vintage Chateauneuf du Pape is always a category I'm on the hunt for, but the pool of domaines that deliver what I'm looking for is limited. As the predominant variety of CdP, Grenache has a propensity for oxidation, and although varieties like Syrah and Mourvèdre bring needed backbone I still find you have to be surgical in selecting wines. Domaine's that take a traditional approach and aim to preserve acidity and structure have the greatest success.

That's why I was so happy to finally land two favorites from the excellent 1985 and 1989 southern Rhone vintages. As avid CdP collectors know, Mont-Redon and Mont-Olivet are prime examples of CdP at their most old-school and soulful. When bottles have been stored at cellar temperature the wines unravel into beautiful expressions of the region where 13 grape varieties comprise blends.

Mont-Redon was recognized as a vineyard in 1344 as part of the Pope's holdings. (Chateauneuf du Pape translates to "New Home of the Pope"). The estate has continued with tradition, utilizing all grape varieties: Grenache (red and white), Mourvèdre, Syrah, Counoise, Cinsault, Muscardin, Vaccarèese, Terret Noir, Clairette, Viognier, Picpoul, Roussanne, Bourboulenc. All red grapes are destemmed.

"The 1989 Mont-Redon is a stunning example of this outstanding Châteauneuf du Pape vintage...Just a lovely bottle of Châteauneuf and one of my favorites in the last couple of decades at Mont-Redon." 
- John Gilman, View from the Cellar (4/11)
Mont-Olivet's Sabon family are larger-than-life figures in the southern Rhone. The Mont-Olivet domaine was officially founded in 1932, and today focuses on a high percentage of 60% Grenache in their top CdP. Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault make up the bulk of the remaing blend and bring backbone to meld with the fleshy, baked strawberry and white pepper notes of Grenache. Whole clusters are used here for fermentation, adding spice, but perhaps more importantly, another layer of tannin and structure. 

“One of the benchmark producers of Châteauneuf-du-Pape…the consistent results have always been classic Châteauneuf-du-Papes that stand the test of time.”

- Robert Parker,

“Clos du Mont Olivet, which is now run by Thierry Sabon, is a brilliant estate that fashions traditional, age-worthy Châteauneuf du Papes that have incredibly broad drink windows.”

- Jeb Dunnuck,

1989 Mont-Redon Chateauneuf du Pape
$83 per bottle.

1985 Mont-Olivet Chateauneuf du Pape
$113 per bottle.

Also available:

4x 1999 Vieux Télegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape La Crau 
$99 per bottle.

2x 2001 Vieux Télegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape La Crau 1.5L
$228 per bottle.

9x 1999 Clos des Papes Chateauneuf du Pape 
$149 per bottle.

2x 2007 Domaine de la Mordorée Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Reine des Bois
$179 per bottle.

4x 2009 Henri Bonneau Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Célestins
$489 per bottle.

4x 1988 Henri Bonneau Châteauneuf du Pape Réserve des Célestins
$1,199 per bottle.