2003 Brunel Chateauneuf Cuvee Centenaire

2003 Brunel Chateauneuf Cuvee Centenaire

Year: 2003
Appellation: Rhone
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 96
International Wine Cellar: 95
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Wine Advocate #156; December 2004Only made in the greatest vintages, the 2003 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Centenaire (about 500 cases produced) may come close to equaling the perfect 1998 and 1990. Eighty percent of this cuvee comes from an old Grenache vineyard planted in 1889, and 20% is Syrah and Mourvedre. The deep ruby/purple-hued 2003 exhibits an explosive bouquet of freshly ground Indian wynad pepper, loads of garrigue, and glorious levels of kirsch liqueur intermixed with plums and raspberries. The flamboyant aromatics lead to a wine that is almost like jam (or as the French say confiture). Extremely full-bodied and multidimensional with enormous layers of fruit, extract, and glycerin, this powerful yet incredibly pure, elegant Chateauneuf du Pape is more flamboyant, sexy, and precocious than the structured, backward 2001, but slightly more concentrated than the glorious 2000. The superb 2003 Cuvee Centenaire is a candidate for “wine of the vintage” in Chateauneuf du Pape. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2023. As a postscript, in spite of the fact that part of this cuvee is aged in new barriques, it rarely reveals much of a toasty/pain grille note.   94-97 Points


Wine Advocate #163; February 2006
($130) The limited production but exquisite 2003 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Centenaire is a riper, more concentrated version of the 2000 Centenaire. There are about 500 cases of this Grenache-dominated wine produced from a vineyard planted in 1889 with some Syrah and Mourvedre (about 20%) added to the blend. The latter components are aged in small barrels. The wine has a dense ruby/purple-tinged color to the rim, a strikingly pure nose of kirsch liqueur, creme de cassis, and hints of vanilla and espresso. Hitting the palate with full-throttle opulence, superb concentration, fabulous purity, and striking multiple levels of raspberries and black cherry jam, this is a beautifully full-bodied, brilliantly concentrated and structured wine that reveals sweet but abundant tannin and a finish that goes on for close to a minute. I still think the two greatest Centenaires made to date have been the 1990 and 1998, but this one is close in quality. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2020+.   96 Points


Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, Jan/Feb 06($169) Dark red color. Intensely spicy and rich on the nose, with vibrant aromas of kirsch, raspberry, wild strawberry, anise and fresh rose. Amazingly concentrated, juicy and pure in the mouth, with compelling, energetic flavors of dark raspberry, cherry preserves, poached rhubarb and rose pastille. The minerally finish, which features completely buffered tannins, builds inexorably and goes on and on. This comes from vines planted in 1889, according to Brunel.  95 Points


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