A Few of the 2016 and 2017 Sabon Southern Rhônes Now Available!

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pre 2015 tour - wineries 036

Didier Négron and Hélène at the gates of Domaine Roger Sabon

Most of you know the Domaine Roger Sabon story (for those who don't, it follows at the end of this screed) so I have decided to get straight to their truly superb wines from the terrific 2016 and 2017 Southern Rhône vintages. I have had the pleasure of trying all of these wines (an arduous task, but some poor wretch has to do it) and can vouch for each and every one of them. They are fabulous. Where available, I have included the tasting notes of Jeb Dunnuck from '@jebdunnuck' and Joe Czerwinski of "The Wine Advocate" . The very limited quantities are those available at time of writing this screed.

The Domaine Roger Sabon Wines on Offer

We are delighted to offer you all four Sabon Châteauneuf du Pape from the 2016 vintage - "Les Olivets", "Réserve". "Prestige" and "Le Secret des Sabon" in 750 ml bottles. And, from the very small but yummy 2017 vintage we have regular-sized bottles of "Rhône By Roger Sabon" and "Lirac By Roger Sabon" for your drinking pleasure. 2016 in the southern Rhône was a simply fantastic vintage. I believe the 2017 from Sabon will prove to be every bit as good.

Please send me a note  if you would like me to order for you (let me know to which LCBO store you would like your wine sent).

2017 Rhône By Roger Sabon = 15.0% Alc./Vol.                                $19.80 the bottle LCBO Product No. 466234 

There are 35 bottles of this little gem available at the LCBO store at 275 Rideau Street in Ottawa. If you can't shop in person, try to cajole your local LCBO store manager to transfer some for you. None are available at LCBO.com.

The 2017 Rhône By Roger Sabon is a truly superb Côtes du Rhône. 2017 was a very small vintage, about half the normal yield, so this is all we can get. It is made from 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah and 10% Cinsault. The grapes were destemmed and hand sorted. It is a brick red colour with pure aromas of raspberries, ripe cherries, smoked meat, Provençal spices and minerals. It is well-balanced with silky tannins and lots of red and black fruit flavours - it is very elegant! Medium to full-bodied, it will go perfectly with grilled meats, barbeques and charcuterie. It is ready to drink now and will hold beautifully for another four to five years. If you are in the Toronto area you can try this fine wine at Le Sélect Bistro.

"Already bottled, the 2017 Rhône By Roger Sabon gives up a smoking good bouquet of black raspberries, lavender, herbes de Provence, and exotic spices. It's medium-bodied, rounded, and beautifully made. I'm sure it's a smoking value" (91/100) Jeb Dunnuck, '@jebdunnuck' August 28, 2018

2017 Lirac By Roger Sabon = 15.0% Alc./Vol.                  $25.85 the bottle LCBO Product No. 841346  

There are 10 bottles available at LCBO.com and a further 22 at the LCBO store at 275 Rideau Street in Ottawa.

 Robert Parker noted that Domaine Roger Sabon is one of only five "Excellent" Lirac producers. He goes on to say, "A sleepy village next to Tavel, Lirac appears to be emerging from the shadows of oblivion. More and more of the top estates are producing better and better wines."

"The 2017 Lirac By Roger Sabon is more classic and elegant than the Côtes du Rhône, with lots of currants, cherries, crushed rocks and peppery herb aromas and flavors. This medium-bodied, fresh 2017 has good acidity, building fine tannin, impeccable balance and a great finish'" (92/100) Jeb Dunnuck, '@jebdunnuck' August 28, 2018

2016 Châteauneuf du Pape "Les Olivets" - 5.0% Alc./Vol.               $45.45 the bottle      LCBO Product No. 841353

There are 11 bottles available at LCBO.com.

"Les Olivets" comes from an 8.5 hectare plot of vines averaging 45 to 65 years of age. It is made from 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah and 10% Cinsault and is aged in oak foudres for six to eight months.

"Tasted blind, the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape les Olivets shows gorgeous aromas of purple raspberries, and garrigue. Full-bodied and even a bit chewy, it picks up hints of mocha and licorice on the long finish. It is a blend of 80% Grenache and 10% each Cinsault and Syrah, matured in foudres and oak vats." (92/100) Joe Czerwinski, "The Wine Advocate" Aug. 2018

2016 Châteauneuf du Pape "Réserve" - 15.0% Alc./Vol.                  $54.45 the bottle      LCBO Product No: 841361

There are 4 bottles available at LCBO.com.

"Full-bodied and velvety, Sabon s 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve is a step up from the les Olivets bottling and probably represents the best value in the 2016 lineup. Tasted blind, it showcases ripe dark plum and cola but also super ripe Grenache notes of apricots and delicate hints of garrigue, then it turns rich and chewy on the long finish. It is a blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre and 10% Syrah, matured in a mix of foudres and oak vats." (95/100) Joe Czerwinski, "The Wine Advocate" Aug. 2018

I would give this marvellous Châteauneuf a couple of years before broaching and expect it to evolve wonderfully for the next fifteen years or so.

2016 Châteauneuf du Pape "Prestige" - 15.0% Alc./Vol.                $80.00 the bottle LCBO Product No: 841379

There are 11 bottles of this beauty available at LCBO.com.

"Sourced from the lieux-dits of Les Brusquières and Cabrières, the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Prestige is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre and 5% other varieties. Tasted blind, it's a big, full-bodied, lush wine. Powered by bold cherry and stone fruit, it shows hints of pepper and clove complexity, plus vibrant citrus zest notes on the long, electric finish. Wow." (96/100) Joe Czerwinski, "The Wine Advocate" Aug. 2018.

This is simply delicious stuff.

2016 Châteauneuf du Pape "Le Secret des Sabon" - 15.0% Alc./Vol.  $233.45 the bottle LCBO Product No: 841395

There are but 2 bottles of this classic available at LCBO.com.

 "I tasted the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Le Secret des Sabon blind, alongside the other 2016s from this fine estate, and failed to discern a huge difference between it and the impressive Prestige and Reserve bottlings. I don't doubt that time will prove my rating to be conservative, hence the + sign. Winemaker Didier Négron retained some stems in this cuvée, and they show for the moment in its slightly herbal-minty notes, but they are balanced by ripe Grenache fruit that suggests apricot and plum. Lavender and thyme join in on the creamy, lush finish of this full-bodied but elegant offering." (96+/100) Joe Czerwinski, "The Wine Advocate" Aug. 2018.

This is simply delicious stuff.

Domaine Roger Sabon

We have just been tasting!
Domaine Roger Sabon came into being in 1952 when the family vineyards were split into three distinct entities (the other two being Domaine Chante-Cigale and Clos Mont Olivet). Robert M. Parker, Jr., who awarded their 1988 vintage a perfect 100 rating, the first Châteauneuf du Pape so honoured, had this to say about Domaine Roger Sabon. "This estate has been at the top of its game for many years and any partisan of Rhône Valley wines (especially the southern Rhône) who has not yet tried a wine from Domaine Roger Sabon should make every effort to do so. They produce four separate Châteauneuf du Pape cuvées at this 42-acre estate run by the large Sabon family, in this case, Jean-Jacques (deceased), Julien, Gilbert and Denis (Note: the helm has been turned over to the succeeding and equally capable generation - Didier Négron, Delphine and Julien Sabon).

They own 15 parcels spread throughout the appellation, most of them concentrated in the western and eastern sectors north of the village.

This estate has been making exceptionally high-quality wines for years, but recent vintages seem to have risen to a new level of quality. Moreover, Sabon's wines have not yet been discovered by the masses, so prices are surprisingly reasonable. Readers should be also be aware that Roger Sabon produces a very delicious Côtes du Rhône and Lirac from vineyards holding those appellations."                                                    

Delphine, Didier and Hélène at the Domaine
The domaine occupies about seventeen hectares of prime vineyards in some of the best sites of Châteauneuf - Les Cabrières, La Crau, Courthezon and Nalys, and all with "galets roulés" the sizeable white stones that soak up the sun and release the warmth to the vines at night. The vines are a minimum age of 50 years, with some 90-years and older. They are mainly Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Mourvèdre, but Muscardin, Terret, Vaccarèse and Counoise are also grown. All of the grapes have been totally destemmed since the 1997 vintage. Fermentation takes place in small cement vats and small stainless steel cuves, with pumping over and a cuvaison that lasts for 20 days at temperatures between 30° and 34°. The wine is matured in foudres and used barriques, and receives neither fining nor filtration.

Gentleman’s Portion Wine Tales

Since 2016 I have been contributing monthly stories about Hélène’s and my weird, wacky and wonderful experiences in the world of wine to a terrific blog called ‘Gentleman’s Portion’. Take a look to see what we’ve been up to. Better still, sign up to receive all the fascinating stories about the better things in life like fine food, cruising, touring and of course wine.


Here’s how LCBO.com works. We will supply the LCBO with selected wines and you or anyone else in Ontario can order and pay for them on-line via the ‘LCBO.com’ site. The major benefit to you is that the wines will already be here at the LCBO warehouse and will be delivered in a short amount of time. By paying a $12 delivery fee, they will ship it (regardless of quantity as long as the order is for $50 or more) by way Canada Post to any address in Ontario and it will be delivered within four business days. Or, you can avoid the shipping fee by having the wine sent to any LCBO store you designate. The store will call you once it is ready to be picked up. This process will take from one to two weeks (possibly up to four weeks in remote areas). Another benefit is that you will no longer have to provide us with the LCBO Lab Waiver email.

Please get in touch with me if you have any questions, would like additional information or would like my help ordering your wine. The LCBO will assist with any post-ordering issues. Contact them at ‘helloLCBO’.

Salvation Wines

When Brian Jutzi, a very active Arthur’s Cellar Wine Club Member heard that we would be jettisoning several of our wineries, he bravely volunteered to take them on. He and his wife Cindy have launched ‘Salvation Wines’ and already have wines from Domaine de Tara and Domaine de Poulvarel on order and on their way to Ontario. Brian also intends to use the ‘LCBO.com’ ordering and distribution program.

Here are a few words from Brian:

Salvation: The act of saving, preservation or deliverance from harm, ruin or loss."

Brian and Cindy Jutzi
Inspired by Peter Mayle’s book ‘A Year in Provence’, my wife Cindy and I travelled to France where we discovered many small family run wineries. It was during our visit to Domaine de Tara that we spied the Arthur Sellers Wine Club business cards on full display. This was fabulous news as we could enjoy the fine wines of southern France back home. We have been sharing wines of the region with family and friends ever since.

Jim’s email “SADLY WINDING DOWN AFTER ALL THESE YEARS!” was truly sad news... it was one of the most distressing emails I have ever read.

I decided to offer an alternative. Rather than Jim and Hélène throwing in the towel, I asked Jim if he would consider passing the baton instead. He agreed and thus ‘Salvation Wines’ was born. Our mission is to preserve the enjoyment of these wines that so many have come to love.”

If you would like to find out more about Salvation Wines and get on their emailing list, please contact Brian directly at brian@salvationwines.ca.

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