In Pursuit of the 2007...
2009 Janasse Châteauneuf-du-Pape VV
...but well under half the 2007's price
"A candidate for the wine of the vintage in this appellation."
- Robert Parker
Domaine de la Janasse is no small, under-the-radar house. They are one of the greats of Châteauneuf, and their Vielles Vignes - from vines over 80 years old - has been an out-and-out benchmark of the appellation nearly every single year for the last decade.
Today we present the latest in their string of hits, the 2009 Janasse Châteauneuf-du-Pape VV - "a candidate for wine of the vintage" here - at $99.95 a bottle. This is the lowest price in the nation by about 10%, so the pricing here is truly exceptional.
For those of you instinctively getting ready to compare this to Janasse's "perfect" 2007 VV, a few details provide some interesting perspective. For beginners, at the moment, pricing on the 2007 starts at $250 a bottle. In a way, it's almost too bad that the 07s were so incredible, because as phenomenal as the 2009s are, they can't help but sit in the 07s' shadows.
Or should we say, almost too bad? The spotlight also keeps pressure on the pricing, which means tickets for 07s soar while the 09s sneak by at considerably less… even as many 09s nip right at the heels of the 07s.
In terms of character, Janasse's 2009 VV is darkly concentrated and plenty hedonistic - as with the 2007 there is a stunning concentration with Châteauneuf's characteristic luscious purple-black fruits, spiced potpourri and brambly earth notes. There's a firm grip of structure that will carry this easily into the next couple of decades, yet for all the depth, there's also a suppleness here that not only offers the option of earlier drinking, but that also gives a nice counterpoint to the gangbusters-force of the 07s.
Weather-wise, the 09 vintage was a veritable dream for producers in Châteauneuf, leading with a cool, wet spring that transitioned into a hot, dry summer. That meant grapes were blessed early on with ample acidity and sturdy structure that kept up their integrity even as summer blazed on and ripened them fully and evenly. By September, the fruit was amply concentrated, with vibrant color and soft, mature tannins, and houses were able to harvest at their leisure, ensuring that each plot was picked at the perfect time.
Janasse harvested their 09 VV in the last week of September and the first of October, drawing from four separate plots (they have over 200 different parcels to choose from), each of which contributed its own nuance to the final blend.
The 09 VV gets what Janasse calls the appellation’s signature "fat and power" from a parcel in the southern part of Châteauneuf, while a cooler plot in the north lends freshness and good acidity. A later-picked vineyard of red clay and pebbles, also in the north, contributes more structure to the wine. Finally, the wine's "smoothness" comes from a plot blessed with sandy limestone soil.
As Parker has rightly pointed out, "While this estate is at the top of its game, it is not content to rest on the status quo and continues to push the envelope." Likewise, they continue to push the bar in Châteauneuf ever higher, achieving wines that Andrew Jefford calls "absolutely classic and beautifully defined, sweetly luscious without ever sinking into soupiness."
We should be able to expect great things to continue coming out of this house, though it wouldn’t surprise us if the prices soon caught up to the quality of the wines and their praise. If you look at great back vintages of Janasse - 01, 03, 05 and of course 07 - you’ll see that pricing very rarely dips below $100, meaning you'd be wise to stock up while today's offer lasts (which we don’t expect to be long).
To place your order, please email us at email@example.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.
Director, Fine & Rare Wine
Crush Wine & Spirits
Wine Advocate: "Made from a blend of 85% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre, and 5% Syrah, the dense purple-colored 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes achieved 15.5% natural alcohol. A candidate for the wine of the vintage in this appellation, it offers abundant notes of blackberries, boysenberries, truffles and incense as well as a layered, multidimensional personality and an exceptionally long finish. This is a brilliant wine to drink over the next two decades."
Wine is pre-arrival
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