Chateau Rayas 'Pignan Reserve' Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2007
1 or more bottles$360.00
Robert Parker's93 points
Château Rayas is a leading producer in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation of the Rhône Valley. It is one of the region's most prestigious estates, and its wines fetch some of the highest prices in southern France.
Much about Rayas is unusual. Firstly, the estate's red wine is made solely from Grenache, unlike most Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines that typically contain Syrah, Mourvèdre and a range of other varieties. Secondly, the 13 hectares (32 acres) of vineyards face north, and do not have any galets roulés, the rounded stones so closely associated with the appellation. Thirdly, the estate's wines are matured in rare double-piéce 450-liter barrels.
Château Rayas' Châteauneuf-du-Pape is known for its sweet, pure fruit and silky texture, and has a reputation as one of the best wines in the appellation for longer-term aging. The second label, Pignan, is also 100 percent Grenache, and tends to be gutsy and ripe and not quite so polished in style as the top cuvee. The château's white Châteauneuf-du-Pape is generally made from Grenache Blanc and Clairette.
Château Rayas has been in the Reynaud family since the 1880s. Owner Emmanuel Reynaud also makes the (highly priced) Château de Fonsalette and Pialade Côtes du Rhône wines at the Rayas winery. Château des Tours in Vacqueyras is a separate estate and winery, under the same ownership.
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- Red Meat
Critic Scores & reviews
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate93
"Outer quote mark As I indicated last year, this estate’s sleeper selection is their 2007 Pignan Chateauneuf du Pape, a 100% Grenache from sandy soils. This offering, aged totally in old foudres and demi-muids, includes some of the declassified Rayas lots, and the 2007 is the finest Pignan since the 1990. A medium ruby color is followed by explosive aromas of sweet kirsch, lavender, licorice, and earth. The wine hits the palate with a blast of fruit and glycerin, full body, and an ethereal lightness and elegance that are remarkable for a wine of such intense fruit. A great effort, it may merit an even higher score after a few years in the bottle. Enjoy it over the next 12-15 years. Inner quote mark (10/2009)"
"Outer quote mark Vivid red. Intensely perfumed, expressive aromas of red and dark berry compote, smoky minerals and incense, along with a deep note of black cardamom. Palate-saturating raspberry and kirsch flavors are complicated by suggestions of licorice pastille and candied lavender, with silky tannins adding support. Becomes sappier with air and finishes with excellent clarity and mineral-laced red fruit character. (JR) Inner quote mark"
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Wine is being produced throughout France and has been done for over 2,500 years with certain Châteaux dating their history back to Roman times, around 6th Century BC. Ranking second in the world in per-capita consumption and first in total production quantity. More so than the overall quantity of wine is the quantity of truly great wines coming out of France makes the nation the envy of wine-making nations worldwide.
Two concepts pivotal to the higher end French wines, in particular, are the idea of 'terroir' and the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system. Terroir refers to the way the geography, geology and climate find their way into the glass, telling a story of the origin of the wine. The AOC was set up in 1935 and has the primary goal of protecting the authenticity of the wines and the livelihoods of the producers. Appellation rules strictly define which varieties of grapes and winemaking practices are approved for classification in each of France's several hundred geographically defined appellations, which can cover entire regions, individual villages or in some cases, like in Burgundy even specific vineyards.
Classic wine regions in France include Champagne (home of Champagne), Burgundy (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot), Alsace (Aromatic varietals), Loire Valley (Chenin Blanc, Crémant) and the Rhône Valley (Syrah, Grenache Mourvedre)
The Bordeaux classification of 1855 is still in use, as is the Sauternes and Barsac Classification of the same year. Wines from certain regions can be bought En Primeur, which is when the wine is sold prior to it being bottled.
The Rhône Valley is in the South of France and is situated in the Rhône river valley. The region has been growing wines for centuries and is generally split into two sub-regions. In the Northern Rhône, Syrah is the predominant grape variety, though it is often blended with other white varieties like Marsanne, Rousanne and Viognier, or the red grape Mourvedre. In the Southern Rhône, a wide range of white, red and rosés are produced alongside the undisputed king of the Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
The Northern Rhône is cooler than the Southern Rhône and has a continental climate with warm summers and cold winter. The appellations from North to South are Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu, Château-Grillet, Saint-Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage, Cornas and Saint-Péray.
In Southern Rhône, the climate is more Mediterranean, with mild winters and hot summers. Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the most famous appellation but others include Côtes du Rhône, Gigondas and Lirac. Large pebbles are used in the region, placed at the base of the vines to absorb the suns heat during the day, to keep the vines warm at night.
Châteauneuf-du-Papes are blended from the 13 permitted grape varieties, though Grenache usually dominates, supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre. These wines can be supremely rich and complex and typically warrant 5-10 years in the cellar for best results.
Cotes du Rhone
Côtes du Rhône Villages AOC is a distinct step-up in quality from wines labelled 'Côtes du Rhône.' The Côtes du Rhône Villages AOC is entirely in Southern Rhône and is less than 20% the size of 'Côtes du Rhône.' As typical of the region, red wines account for the majority of wine produced, and must comprise a minimum of 50% Grenache, 20% Syrah and a maximum of 20% can be made up of the remaining 10 varieties permitted in the region.
There are 4 tiers of AOCs (wine quality levels) in the Côtes du Rhône. At the bottom, the 'entry level' is Côtes du Rhône AOC, a step up is Côtes du Rhône Villages AOC (lower yields, slightly higher alcohol and ideal for cellaring) and at the top is Côtes du Rhône (named) Villages AOC, which will have the name of the village where the wine originates. The entirety of the wine must come from said village for the label to adorn its name. There are 18 villages in all which are permitted to declare their names on the label. At the top of the pile is 'The Crus' which are the 18 small subregions which best highlight their terroirs. They're made in tiny quantities and only account for a mere 20% of the Rhone's output. Most famous are the likes of Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC, Gigondas AOC, Crozes-Hermitage AOC and Hermitage AOC
The regions history is long and rich, dating back to the 4th century BC when Greeks brought wine to the area.
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