M. Chapoutier Châteauneuf du Pape Croix de Bois 2015
At the top end of Chapoutier's Southern Rhône hierarchy are the two sélections parcellaires from Châteauneuf du Pape. I had a slight preference for the 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape Croix de Bois, which comes from the Bédarrides (eastern) side of the appellation, a site with galets roulés over clay, which Chapoutier says resists drought. This is a full-bodied, dense, plummy wine, but it retains ample freshness and offers loads of spicy complexity, including exotic notes like cumin and coriander that linger enticingly on the finish.
The 2015 Châteauneuf-Du-Pape Croix de Bois is another single vineyard cuvée made from 100% Grenache that was completely destemmed and aged all in concrete. It's slightly deeper ruby colored than the Barbe Rac and offers a more fruit-driven style, with notes of blueberry, plums, black cherries, spring flowers and Asian spice. Building with time in the glass, it's ripe, voluptuous and elegant, yet also concentrated and structured. It needs 2-4 years of bottle age