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The Rhone Report


  • By Josh Raynolds
    January/February 2008, IWC Issue #136, (See more on Vinous...)

    (Domaine Durieu Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve Lucile Avril) Subscribe to see review text.


  • By Jon Rimmerman
    12/11/2009, (See more on Garagiste...)

    (LUCILE AVRIL Chateauneuf DURIEU) Durieu

    Dear Friends,

    After tasting several wines from this estate (dating back to 2004), I have no problem with the statement that they are among the finest, unheralded houses in all of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. One after another (regardless of vintage), their wine stands up to the best in the region - especially the most respected traditional houses. If you've never tasted wine from Durieu, I've assembled a few tidbits for you to sample at prices that should entice experimentation. All are more than worth the exercise and the quality is near the top of the appellation. In my opinion, this property will enter the inner circle very soon (Pegau, Vieux Donjon, Clos des Papes et al).

    Both wines below are VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - hardly any was distributed in Europe or the US so this is the only parcel available.

    This shipment is directly from the winery cellar with perfect provenance:

    2007 Domaine Durieu Cotes du Rhone
    At a recent assembly tasting in Paris (a few weeks ago), this wine was a standout among dozens of acclaimed 2007 Rhones- the Domaine said it was a "super vin trÄs fruitÄ EXCELLENT rapport qualitÄ prix!" but they never said it was one of the top Cotes du Rhones of 2007? Cement raised and pure as mountain spring water, this wine is the secret of the winery and almost al of it is sold to French collectors within a few weeks of release. That's about all that needs to be said. EXTREMELY LIMITED - only 50 cases available for export (for everyone, not just us).

    2005 Domaine Durieu Chateauneuf-du-Pape "Lucile Avril" (375ml)
    (the 2005 vintage of this wine is VERY HARD TO FIND and the half-bottles of Lucile Avril are only sold at the winery)

    We get more requests for high-end 375ml's than almost anything else, so here you go. I've been spouting off for the past two years about the superior quality of the 2005 vintage in Chëteauneuf du Pape versus 2007 (for classicists anyway) and this wine is among the strongest unknown luxury cuvees of the vintage. It can border on stunning in its own way and its best days are yet to come. In general, everything the 2007 vintage lacks (firm definition/framework, gritty tannins and rough and tumble Grenache instead of carnival Grenache) the 2005 vintage has in spades. Unlike many top cuvees from CdP, the Lucile Avril is not necessarily showy on release. It is produced to age like the great wines of the late 1970's or 1980's and not to win contests or blind tastings (their intent is well-regarded by this taster). Tradition has taken a back seat of late in Chateauneuf which is one of the reasons this wine is so highly thought of by the old-time legends of the area (ask Henri Bonneau what he thinks of Durieu and this wine in specific?). The finest old-vine Chateauneuf does not need slathered new oak to support it - all it requires is the terroir, cement tanks and maybe a few used barrels to complete the cycle - thankfully Durieu understands this. From very old vines, the 2005 Lucile Avril is in a wonderful place (especially in 375ml) - it is perfect for drinking over the next 4-8 years. The Durieu's call the 2005 half-bottles "des petites bombes, plaöt Änormement" and that should tell you something. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED as one of the lowest priced/highest quality top-end traditional wines left in Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

    Thank you,

    Jon Rimmerman
    Seattle, WA


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