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Bulletin Detail
Date January 11, 2018 
Title Rejoice! The Vaunted 2015 And 2016 Sabons Are Here! 
Bulletin Untitled Page
Didier Négron and Hélène at the gates of Domaine Roger Sabon

Dear Arthur’s Cellar Wine Club Member:

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 2015 and 2016 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 used the tasting notes of Jeb Dunnuck from the ‘Wine Advocate’. Mr. Dunnuck and his opinions are highly respected by the Southern Rhône vignerons. I attest that his assessments and tasting notes fairly represent these Sabon wines. 

The Domaine Roger Sabon Wines on Offer

We are delighted to offer you two Sabon red Châteauneuf du Pape from the 2015 vintage - ‘Les Olivets’ and Réserve’ in 750 ml bottles (six to the case) as well as magnums of the Réserve (three to the case). And, from the 2016 vintage we have Rhône By Roger Sabon,  Lirac By Roger Sabon and the white Châteauneuf du Pape ‘Renaissance’ (all in 750 ml bottles, six to the case) for your drinking pleasure. 2015 in the southern Rhône was a simply fantastic vintage. I think the 2016 might prove to be even better.

2016 Rhône By Roger Sabon – 14.5% Alc./Vol.               $19.30/$115.80 for 6  LCBO Product No. 466234

The 2016 Rhône By Roger Sabon is a truly superb Côtes du Rhône. 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.

2016 Lirac By Roger Sabon – 14.5% Alc./Vol.                          $28.80/$172.80 for 6 LCBO Item No. 466242

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.”

“Somehow Roger Sabon has captured joy in a bottle. His 2016 Lirac By Roger Sabon boasts subtle spice and vanilla shadings upfront, then elevates the mood with easy-to-drink ripe cherry fruit that’s concentrated yet never seems heavy on the palate. This medium to full-bodied wine is lush and fun to drink, ending with softly dusty tannins that lend a welcome savory edge to the long finish. It should drink well for close to a decade.” (91/100) Jeb Dunnuck, ‘The Wine Advocate’ October, 2017

2016 Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc ‘Renaissance’ – 14.0% Alc./Vol.    $53.60/$321.6 for 6       LCBO Product No. 466259

Made from 50% Roussanne and completed with Clairette, Bourboulenc and Grenache Blanc, this beauty offers up aromas of honeysuckle, pears, peaches and fresh flowers that seem to leap from the glass. It is a full-bodied stunner, crisp, clean, subtle and elegant that sees no oak. This wine is meant to be drunk young – over the next year or two. If you like white Châteauneuf du Pape, you’ll love the 2016 ‘Renaissance’ from Domaine Roger Sabon. It simply doesn’t get much better than this.

2015 Châteauneuf du Pape ‘Les Olivets’ – 14.5% Alc./Vol.               $48.75/$292.50 for 6            LCBO Product No. 466267

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.

“The 2015 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Olivets is made from 80% Grenache and 10% each of Syrah and Cinsault (vines averaging 45 to 65 years of age), aged in foudre, concrete tanks and tronconique tanks, its deep ruby/purple color is followed by a medium to full-bodied, textured red that has lots of red black fruits, roasted garrigue and hints of meatiness, sweet tannin and outstanding length. This is a great vintage for this cuvée that should drink well through 2025.” (90 – 92/100) Jeb Dunnuck, ‘The Wine Advocate’ October, 2017

Please note that the description of this wine on is incorrect at time of writing; however, the price is correct and you will be getting the 2015 Les Olivets.

2015 Châteauneuf du Pape ‘Réserve’ – 14.5% Alc./Vol. 
750 ml $57.95/$347.70 for 6
LCBO Product No.: 750 ml - 466283
Magnums $127.90/$383.70 for 3
LCBO Product No.: Magnums - 466291

750 ml :

Magnum :
Made from 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre (with vines averaging sixty-five to eighty years of age), the 2015 Châteauneuf du Pape Réserve comes from two terroirs: la Crau and la Grenade. It’s aged 60% in foudre and the rest in larger oak tanks. Elegant, medium to full-bodied, with ripe tannic structure, it has lots of scorched earth, darker berry fruits, smoked herbs and licorice aromas and flavors. It’s not a massive wine, but it shines for its purity and length.” (93 – 95/100) Jeb Dunnuck, ‘The Wine Advocate’ October, 2016

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.

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.

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

Many thanks and cheers!

Jim, Hélène and Kate