Clos des Centenaires "Luxe, Calme, et Volupté" 2016
Cabernet Blend｜Pays D'Oc, France
A deep, chewy, and ripe Bordeaux blend from the southern French Riviera!
Straddled between the imposing forests of the UNESCO Parc National de Camargue and the scenic city of Montpellier, Clos des Centenaires is an estate run by the Rhône power-couple Stéphanie and Luc Baudet, known for their distinct, powerful expressions of classic Rhône reds. As the estate name implies, the tiny seven-hectare vineyard is surrounded by century-old vines, olive trees and wild Mediterranean scrub, planted in deep stony pebbles polished by millions of years of alluvial and glacial activity.
Their "Luxe, Calme, et Volupté" is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon followed by Petit Verdot and Merlot – a classic Bordeaux mélange translated through the Mediterranean sunshine and the pebbly river-stone soils so prevalent here. These gnarly old vines are farmed organically with biodynamic influences and totally dry farmed. The 100-plus year-old roots plunge deep into the earth, accessing subterranean nutrients and water that sustain them through the Mediterranean summers, making for concentrated, supreme fruit from painfully low yields – the perfect recipe for a classic, soulful southern French red.
And such character shines through: deep, dark plum and mocha notes dominate, with a chewy palate dense with black licorice, sweet spices, chocolate, and wild herbs. The heady richness is all the more surprising considering it has zero new oak – the juice is fermented in concrete tanks and aged for 12 months in large, old wood barrels sourced from the nearby forests.
2016 is famously a great vintage in the south; add this to your cellar to enjoy now, in a year's time, and even further. To find such a delicious sub-$30 Bordeaux blend of this stature is a rare treat!