Châteauneuf-du-Pape "Fiancée" 2013

Product Line: 

The wine's name evokes an incredible love story, a tumultuous, mysterious, and poetic romance between two grape varieties: Grenache and Syrah. Walking a fine line between tradition and modernity, this combination of silkiness, finesse, and power is impressively generous and elegant. This cuvée is only made in exceptional years; the outstanding quality of the Syrah this vintage inspired Julien to produce Fiancée this year after a five-year absence. 

The blend is 40% Grenache from the 100-year-old Terres Blanches plot, which lends finesse and silkiness to the wine, and 60% Syrah from the Cabrières plot, which contributes fruit, power, colour, and cocoa aromas. Rigorous bud pruning is done to keep yields low, as well as green harvesting and leaf thinning. The picking is entirely by hand, with sorting in the vineyard and again in the cellar. Underripe stalks are removed, and the juice stayes on the skins for over a month; the Grenache is aged in tank, while the Syrah is aged on its lees in 600L barrels that are at least three years old. The final cuvée is aged 18 months before it is bottled, unfiltered.

A note on the label: Carlos Pazos, an artist from Barcelona and winner of the Spanish Plastic Arts Prize in 2004, is very attached to France. An eccentric, intense bon vivant, he lives there most of the year. A great friend of the family, and very much in love with wines from the Domaine; he represented the pleasures, both secret and exuberant, that the wine gives him in a painting that is reproduced on the label.

93 points
"Bright violet. Ripe cherry, dark berry liqueur, candied flowers and incense on the deeply perfumed nose. Lush and open-knit, offering palate-staining blueberry and bitter cherry flavors and a hint of spicecake. Shows excellent depth and power but comes off surprisingly lithe. A suave lavender pastille quality emerges slowly on the finish, which features velvety tannins and lingering blue fruit character."
Josh Raynolds,
, April 2016
91 points
"A cuvée not made in every vintage, the 2013 Châteauneuf du Pape Fiancee is a Syrah-dominated release that incorporates 40% Grenache and is aged all in older demi-muids. There are a scant 100 cases made. Giving up loads of cassis, bacon fat, olive and gaminess right out of the gate, it continues to show more and more Grenache sweetness and texture with time in the glass. Medium to full-bodied, nicely concentrated and balanced, it’s certainly not a classic Châteauneuf du Pape, but it has plenty to love and will evolve gracefully over the coming decade. "
Jeb Dunnuck,
Wine Advocate
, October 2015