Arthur Sellers Bulletin Archive
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 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
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’ – 15.0% Alc./Vol. $45.45 the bottle LCBO Product No. 841353
‘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
“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
“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
“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.
Domaine Roger 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.”
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