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 2017 and 2018 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. There are very limited quantities available at time of writing.
The Domaine Roger Sabon Wines on Offer
We are delighted to offer you all four Sabon Châteauneuf du Pape from the 2017 vintage - ‘Les Olivets’, ‘Réserve’ and ‘Prestige’ in 750 ml bottles. And, from the very yummy 2018 vintage we have regular-sized bottles of ‘Rhône By Roger Sabon’ and ‘Lirac By Roger Sabon’ for your drinking pleasure. And, if that wasn’t enough, the LCBO uncovered another few cases of the wonderful 2017 Les Notes de Louis from Domaine Giuliani.
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).
2018 Rhône By Roger Sabon – 15.0% Alc./Vol. $19.15 the bottle LCBO Product No. 581644
Bright cherry and blackberry fruit melds with light savory and lavender notes through the fresh, open-knit finish. Moderate in scale, but showing good energy and persistence. Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault. Drink now. (JM, Web Only-2019) Wine Spectator
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.
2018 Lirac By Roger Sabon – 15.0% Alc./Vol.
$24.85 the bottle LCBO Product No. 657097
Even better than his 2016 (!), the 2018 Lirac by Roger Sabon starts off perfumed and floral, backed by delicate berry notes. Medium to full-bodied, it's creamy and supple, with a long finish. Even after blind-tasting 40+ Liracs, I described this in my notebook as "electrifying stuff." It should drink well for close to a decade.(JC) (10/2019) 93 points; Robert Parker's Wine Advocate.
The 2018 Lirac By Roger Sabon is made in the same balanced, charming, pure style as the Côtes Du Rhône, yet has a touch more elegance, Black raspberries, ground pepper, violets, and spice notes all emerge from this medium-bodied, silky, classy wine. It's a little gem of a wine to enjoy over the coming 3-5 years. (8/2019) 90 points Jeb Dunnuck
Friendly and forward, offering a fun mix of red cherry and blueberry fruit, infused with a light garrigue note and carried by gentle, dusty tannins. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan. Drink now through 2020.(JM) (11/2019) Wine Spectator
2017 Châteauneuf du Pape ‘Les Olivets’ – 15.0% Alc./Vol. $43.40 the bottle LCBO Product No. 657121
The 2017 Chateauneuf du Pape les Olivets is 80% Grenache, plus 10% each Mourvèdre and Syrah. It spent a total of a month on skins, with 'no pigéage', said winemaker Didier Négron. It's still rich and tannic, but it also delivers gorgeous aromas of flowering garrigue and red berries. Raspberry and cheery flavors are joined by hints of tar and black olive in this full-bodied yet silky wine. It will need a bit of cellaring after release, but it should drink well for at least 15 years. Rating: 92-94 - Joe Czerwinski, robertparker.com, August 31st, 2018.
2017 Châteauneuf du Pape ‘Réserve’ – 15.0% Alc./Vol. $51.95 the bottle
LCBO Product No: 657113
“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.
2017 Châteauneuf du Pape ‘Prestige’ – 15.0% Alc./Vol. $76.15 the bottle
LCBO Product No: 657154
Compelling stuff, even tasted next to the Le Secret, the 2017 Chateauneuf du Pape Prestige is 70% Grenache and 20% Syrah, with a smattering of other varieties.
Raspberry and garrigue notes lead the way, followed by a full-bodied wine that is incredibly rich and velvety in texture. There's the suggestion of chocolate fudge, but
somehow it remains bright and balanced, framed by firm tannins. Rating: 96-98 - Joe Czerwinski, robertparker.com, August 31st, 2018..
2017 ‘Les Notes de Louis’ Côtes du Rhône – 15.5% Alc./Vol. $18.05 the bottle
LCBO Product No: 866210
This glorious Côte du Rhône is made from almost 100% Grenache - and the Giulianis are very, very talented Grenache growers. This robust beauty is a brilliant ruby colour and exhibits a pronounced, lively nose of raspberries, plums and cherries. In the mouth these persist, accompanied by black currents and hints of pepper and licorice. It is big and wonderfully round and
supple with silky tannins and surprising length. This stunner will go marvellously with savoury tarts and grilled meats, in other words, perfect for the BBQ. While drinking
brilliantly well now (I’d decant a couple of hours before enjoying), it will keep nicel for at least three or four years. This is terrific stuff.
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.
Follow My Vinous Adventures on Gentleman’s Portion
I have contributed more than forty-five posts about my experiences in the wacky world of wine to a delightful lifestyle blog called Gentleman’s Portion. The latest is titled Sussing Out the Succulent Southern Rhônes. Please join me and my fellow contributors, Nigel Napier-Andrews and David Moorcroft, as we regale you with a good helping of everything great in life.
If you know any fanciers of superb Châteauneuf du Pape and Côtes du Rhône 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