- Nick's Import
2016 Domaine Les Cailloux (Lucien et Andre Brunel) Chateauneuf Du Pape Cuvee Centenaire
André Brunel's family first settled in Châteauneuf du Pape in the 18th century, today they own 22 hectares in Châteauneuf du Pape and 11 hectares in the Côtes du Rhône. Wines are produced from estate grown grapes as well as grapes from neighbouring growers where André manages the vineyards. André Brunel has always been one of the benchmark vignerons of Châteauneuf du Pape and for decades now has produced an incredibly Provençal, elegant, and age-worthy style of wine. Almost all of the vinifications and aging are done in concrete. Although the Syrah does get aged in old oak, it accounts for only 10% of the blend in a typical year. His 2016s are very much in that style and show terrific aromatics as well as balanced, seamless profiles on the palate. The famous Cuvée Centenaire comes almost entirely from a parcel of vines planted in 1889.
When one comes across a wine like this in a blind tasting, it's human nature to second-guess the initial reaction. Yet every time I went back to the wine that turned out to be the Brunels' 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Centenaire, I came away astounded by its complexity and balance. Yes, it's full-bodied, but it's also light on its feet, a lithe vinous gymnast, wiry and strong yet graceful and loaded with nuance. The soaring aromas and flavors range from raspberries and cherries through to roses, black tea, thyme and lavender in this incredible wine. I suspect it will rival the legendary 1990 and 1998 versions.
Joe Czerwinski - Wine Advocate (Sept 2018)
Shimmering magenta. Intensely perfumed red fruit, floral and spice qualities on the expressive nose, which takes on a lively mineral element as the wine opens up. Shows outstanding energy and sharp delineation to the sweet raspberry and cherry preserve, candied lavender, spicecake and cola flavors, which are supported by a spine of juicy acidity. Finishes extremely long and smooth, with fine-grained tannins lending shape to repeating red fruit and floral notes. There's something Burgundian, albeit ripe-year Burgundy, happening here that's extremely attractive. Raised in 70% concrete tanks and 30% demi-muids.
Josh Raynolds - Vinous
The 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Centenaire comes exclusively from the northern part of the Farguerol lieu-dit and is just about 100% Grenache that was partially destemmed and brought up in concrete (70%) and demi-muids (30%). It's a thrilling wine that's behind the otherworldly 1990 and 1998 but is in the same league as the 2007 and 2010. With a massive bouquet of kirsch liqueur, crushed flowers, violets, and honeysuckle, it has full body, no hard edges, beautiful purity of fruit, ripe, polished tannin, and a great finish.
Unlike the 2015, this is 100% destemmed. The comparison is marked, this is immediately denser in style, with a touch of cocoa, silk rope tannins and plentiful glycerol on the palate. It's not an overly full-bodied wine, not appearing terribly concentrated at present however it is very harmonious, long and shapely, with real finesse. Drinkable now, but will undoubtedly improve. I would wait.
Matt Walls - Decanter