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Bulletin Detail
Date November 1, 2015 
Title Surprisingly Good 2013 Châteauneuf du Pape and More from Domaine Roger Sabon 
Bulletin Untitled Page
Didier Négron and Hélène at the gates of Domaine Roger Sabon

Dear Arthur’s Cellar Wine Club Member:

Before Hélène’s 2015 Tour de Provence, we visited Domaine Roger Sabon and were pleasantly surprised by their 2013 Châteauneuf du Pape. 2013 wasn’t the greatest of Southern Rhône vintages (rated 89/100 by the Wine Spectator), but thanks to careful grape selection, particularly of the Grenache Noir, the Domaine Roger Sabon crew created some really good wines.

We are delighted to bring you Domaine Roger Sabon’s four 2013 Châteauneuf du Pape as well their most pleasant 2014 Rhône By Roger Sabon and 2013 Lirac By Roger Sabon. Simply stated, wine from southern France doesn’t get much better than this. And, for world class wines, the prices are terrific; they are a fraction of the cost of equivalent Bordeaux or Burgundy.

Domaine Roger Sabon

La famille
Didier Négron and Julien Sabon hard at work
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, has 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 recently 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.

Delphine Sabon, always a pleasure
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.”

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 90-year-old vines for the Cuvée Prestige. They are mainly Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Mourvèdre, but Muscardin, Terret, Vaccarèse and Counoise are also included in their Cuvée Prestige. 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.

The Domaine Roger Sabon Wines on Offer

We are delighted to offer you the Sabons’ four red Châteauneuf du Pape from the 2013 vintage -  ‘Les Olivets’, ‘Réserve’, ‘Prestige’ and ‘Le Secret des Sabon’. Each comes in a six-bottle case. Why not try them all in the Sabon Super Sampler? The first three also come in magnum format – three magnums to the case or, as a special treat, one of each in the Sabon Magnum Sampler.

We also have the 2014 Rhône By Roger Sabon and 2013 Lirac By Roger Sabon for your drinking pleasure.

While the winery has been generous to us, quantities are strictly limited. So please order early to avoid disappointment. These wines are being offered at very favourable prices – consider that a 2012 Château de Beaucastel, rated 91-93 by (Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Jan./Feb. currently sells at the LCBO for $89.95 the bottle!  We will be taking your orders for these fine wines to the LCBO on lucky Friday, November 13th.

The following tasting notes and ratings are by James Molesworth of the ‘Wine Spectator’ November 15, 2015 issue – note the prices he suggests for these wines compared to ours ... and his are in $US!!).

2014 Rhône By Roger Sabon – 13.5% Alc./Vol.                                       $20/$120 for 6
The 2014 Rhône By Roger Sabon is a truly lovely wine with a bit more oomph and character than its 2013 predecessor! 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, garrigue, Provençal spices and minerals. It is well-balanced with silky tannins and lots of red and black fruit flavours – it is very elegant! Medium bodied, it will go perfectly with grilled meats, barbeques and charcuterie. It is ready to drink now and will continue to do so for another four to five years. Order your delicious Southern Rhône now.

2013 Lirac By Roger Sabon – 14.5% Alc./Vol.                                          $26/$156 for 6
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 2013 Lirac By Roger Sabon is made from 70% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre and 5% Carignan. Aged in stainless steel, this lovely, dark ruby wine exhibits zesty aromas of sweet raspberries, blackberries and garrigue with a hint of pepper and tobacco. The red and black fruit persist in the mouth. It is elegantly complex, very long with a beautiful smooth tannic structure. It will go wonderfully with roasts and wild game. This needs a bit of time in the decanter before consuming. It will keep happily and evolve nicely over the next seven years or so. This is a wonderful wine and a fine example of the best of the southern Rhône. Order yours now.

2013 Châteauneuf du Pape ‘Les Olivets’ – 14.5% Alc./Vol.                        $44/$264 for 6
                                                                                                  Magnums $99/$297 for 3  
 ‘Cliquez pour agrandirLes Olivets’ comes from an 8.5 hectare plot of vines averaging 40 to 60 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.

“A hint of leather peeks out from the core of steeped raspberry and blackberry fruit, while notes of lavender, black tea and warm cherry sauce fill in behind, with a long, polished, deftly toasted finish. Drink now through 2022. 90/100 ($50)” – James Molesworth, the ‘Wine Spectator’

And, it is less than half the LCBO price of a bottle of 2012 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf du Pape! Order your 750 ml bottles of this really good Châteauneuf now; or your Magnums.

2013 Châteauneuf du Pape ‘Réserve’ – 14.5% Alc./Vol.                     $52/$312 for 6
                                                                                          Magnums $118/$354 for 3
The ‘Réserve’ comes from a small three hectare piece of land with vines averaging sixty to seventy-five years of age. It is made from 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre and is aged for twelve months in oak barrels ranging from two to four years of age.

“Shows good concentration, featuring a core of kirsch and steeped plum flavors wrapped in red licorice details. Light spice shadings line the finish, which has a flattering, fleshy feel and a solid graphite note for contrast. Drink now through 2020. 91/100 ($55) – James Molesworth, the ‘Wine Spectator’

I would give this marvellous Châteauneuf a couple of years before broaching and expect it to evolve wonderfully for the next ten years or so. Order your 750 ml bottles now; or your Magnums.

2013 Châteauneuf du Pape ‘Prestige’ – 14.5% Alc./Vol.                     $74/$444 for 6
                                                                                          Magnums $170/$510 for 3
Grenache is the predominant grape in the blend (70%) and is joined by 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre – all from vines averaging almost one hundred years of age. It was matured in 40 hectolitre barrels and in oak casks for 16 to 18 months.

“Rather Burgundian in feel, with alluring cherry sauce, plum compote and raspberry coulis flavors backed by twinge of licorice. A violet hint lingers at the end, giving this additional grace and length. Drink now through 2025. 93/100 ($80) – James Molesworth, the ‘Wine Spectator’

Medium to full-bodied, pure and lively with clean, classical aromas and flavours, it will drink beautifully over the next twelve to fifteen years. Order your 750 ml bottles now; or your Magnums.

2013 Châteauneuf du Pape ‘Le Secret des Sabon’ – 15.0% Alc./Vol.   $215/ $1290 for 6
Cliquez pour agrandirThis extraordinary Châteauneuf du Pape is sourced from vines that are over one hundred years old and is produced only in very good years in very small quantities – truly a collector’s treasure.

“Subtle yet complex, with layers of raspberry coulis, damson plum confiture and bergamot (citrus fruit somewhat like a lemon) notes gliding along, underscored by black tea, incense and spice details. Offers a lovely mouth-fell with well-embedded but persistent grip. Very long. Best from 2016 through 2030.” 94/100 ($220) — James Molesworth, the ‘Wine Spectator’

Order your 750 ml bottles of a Châteauneuf du Pape treasure now.

Sabon Super Sampler                                                                                   $81/$486 for 6
What a veritable treasure trove of fine Châteauneuf du Pape this is … two bottles the 2013 ‘Les Olivets’ and 2013 ‘Réserve’ along with one bottle of the 2013 ‘Prestige’ and 2013 ‘Le Secret des Sabon’. This would be a great gift for connoisseurs, a terrific start to a wine collection or simply a wonderful way to try some very, very good Châteauneuf du Pape. Order your splendid six-pack now.

2013 Châteauneuf Magnum Sampler                                              $129/$387 for 3
Talk about a party in a carton! You get one magnum each of the 2013 ‘Les Olivets’, ‘Réserve’ and ‘Prestige’ Châteauneuf du Pape from Domaine Roger Sabon.  Order your large formats of delectable Châteauneuf du Pape now.

The LCBO is the only entity authorized to sell beverage alcohol in Ontario. Arthur Sellers & Company and Arthur’s Cellar Wine Club do not sell or markup beverage alcohol, but rather, arrange for customers to purchase it from the LCBO. Our prices indicated above and on our website include the LCBO sale price plus a fee to cover the cost of sourcing, handling and marketing the wine. The LCBO’s sale prices are available on request.

If you know any fanciers of superb Châteauneuf du Pape, we would really appreciate it if you would pass this note on to them.

Many thanks and cheers!

Jim, Hélène and Kate