Needed an hour in the decanter to come around, but you can tell there is still a lot of aging before this wine hits its peak. Tons of bright red fruits, layered, with some spice, dried herbs, nice acidity and a 30 second finish.
Tasted upon opening around midday, then after approximately seven hours decanting, with dinner, and again during the late evening. Approachable and enjoyable upon opening, featuring pure sweetness of fruit, sappy garrigue, assorted cracked peppercorns, meatiness, smoke, minerality, and crushed rocks. By dinner, the bouquet showed Syrah-like elements but the palate was Grenache driven, quite interesting. Exceptional concentration, weight, and richness. Though more layers, structure, and grip had come forward, the wine was still mostly a primal, sweet, approachable powerhouse, with noticeable alcohol. By late evening this elixir began to reveal hints of truly profound depth and complexity. Notes of smoke, ash, herbs, olive grove, garrigue, ink, and tar wafted in and out.
Overall, the wine's core is incredibly dense and tightly wound, but it's crust and mantle (comparing this mind-bending potion to the earth's layers seems appropriate), particularly its concentrated sweetness and rounded mouthfeel, are ridiculously enjoyable. In other words, the wine is too primal at present to reveal its real depth, but its periphery is so deliciously appealing that it might actually pass for core substance. Unlike other tasters, I noticed the alcohol, but my palate is sensitive to sharp alcohol. However, once the core unwinds, many, many moons from now, the alcohol will likely fully integrate because of the wine's density. There's no reason not to sample a bottle now, as it is crazy enjoyable, but its true complexity will likely remain hidden for seven to ten years or more. Time will tell, but a score of 98 is possible with cellaring.
The wine looks garnet colored. The legs are slow. There is moderate sediment in the bottle. It smells like blackberry, blueberry, mineral, stoniness, oak and violet. The body is full. The wine has bright texture. The wine finishes long. The wine has medium acidity. Decanted for 1 hr. Tried Vacuvin on a taste, but stripped its intensity. A great Clos des Papes,= or better than the ethereal 2003. Will need 10 years to hit its stride.
(Decanted for four hours.) I am very happy I had the privilege to taste this wine when it was a youthful combination of intense ripe fruit, rich savory elements and striking power. Alas in the last four days I have had this wine from three different sources and can report that it is beginning to shut down. Everything (the exuberant nose, the opulent flavors, etc.) is still there but in a more muted form that requires considerable coaxing. I fear it will be several long years before it breaks out of this and perhaps an even more formidable future shell. Still, when it does its initial energy and muscle suggest that a truly great, legendary wine will emerge. With considerable airing and swirling this reticent monster of a wine still rates 97+ points. And despite the mounting aloofness, it remains my favorite Clos des Papes.
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