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Bulletin Detail
Date September 2, 2020 
Title The Domaine Roger Sabon Treasures Are Back! 

Dear Arthur’s Cellar Wine Club Member:

Didier Négron, Delphine Sabon et Moi 
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 2018 and 2019 Southern Rhône vintages. I had the pleasure of trying the Châteauneuf du Pape last fall (an arduous task, but some poor wretch has to do it) and can vouch for each of them. They are fabulous. Where available, I have used the tasting notes of Joe Czerwinski from the Wine Advocate. By the way, Jeb Dunnuck is a big fan of the Sabon 2018 Châteauneuf du Pape as well.

There is an LCBO-generated glitch. This Sabon shipment arrived late June and we have been waiting patiently since then to have the wines listed on by the bottle. The 2019 Le Saboulet and Rhône By Roger Sabon have finally reached the single bottle stage, but we are still waiting for the three Châteauneuf du Pape. At the moment they are only available by the 12-bottle case. I will let you know as soon as they are available by the single bottle. The LCBO moves in strange and exceedingly slow ways.

Oh yes, they do not place everything we have ordered in the inventory (due, I am told, to limited warehouse space). So, if the inventory has been depleted, there is likely more available. The problem is that it takes them quite some time to replenish. Should all the inventory really be gone, we have ordered more of the 2019 Le Saboulet and Rhône By Roger Sabon along with some 2019 Lirac By Roger Sabon (it wasn’t ready for the first shipment) which in theory will all be available later in the fall.

Per usual, I’d be pleased to order for you. Just let me know what you would like and to which LCBO store you would like it sent.

The Domaine Roger Sabon Wines on Offer

We are delighted to offer you three Sabon red Châteauneuf du Pape from the 2018 vintage - ‘Les Olivets’, Réserve’ and ‘Prestige’. And, from the 2019 vintage we have Rhône By Roger Sabon along with a new Sabon red, the very well-priced Le Sabounet.

2019 Le Sabounet – 15.0% Alc./Vol.                                                 $15.15 the bottle         LCBO Product No. 775809
This overachieving Vin de France, a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault, is an entry-level wine bearing a Mediterranean character with great body and expressive fruit. The grapes were hand-picked and destemmed and vinified in the usual Sabon fashion. It is a pretty deep purple with vibrant aromas of ripe red fruit, garrigue, toast and liquorice. It is harmonious and delectable and is meant to be consumed in the short-term. A veritable bargain if ever there was one!

2019 Rhône By Roger Sabon – 15.0% Alc./Vol.                                $19.95 the bottle         LCBO Product No. 775684
The 2019 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 and 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.

2018 Châteauneuf du Pape ‘Les Olivets’ – 15.0% Alc./Vol.              $ 543.60 case of 12 ($45.30 the bottle)         LCBO Product No. 775783          

“Forward and supple, the 2018 Chateauneuf du Pape ‘Les Olivets’ looks to be another fine success, perhaps in a slightly plusher, more easy-drinking style. Blueberries and raspberries mingle on the nose and palate of this full-bodied, silky textured wine, finishing warm and lush. Rating: 91-93” – Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate, August, 2019. Available only in 12-bottle cases at the moment.

2018 Châteauneuf du Pape ‘Réserve’ – 15.0% Alc./Vol.                  $651.00 case of 12  ($54.25 the bottle)         LCBO Product No. 775791                                                     

Blessed with tremendous raspberry and blueberry fruit, the 2018 Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve adds nuances of dusty earth and crushed stone to the mix. It’s full-bodied, lush and creamy, ending on a flourish of dried spices – all spice, clove and star anise. Rating: 92-95 - Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate, August, 2019.

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. Available only in 12-bottle cases at the moment.

2018 Châteauneuf du Pape ‘Prestige’ – 15.0% Alc./Vol.                  $955.20 case of 12 ($79.60 the bottle)         LCBO Product No. 775833

Three’s a purity of fruit to this wine that’s remarkable year after year. The 2018 Chateauneuf du Pape Prestige showcases cherries and blueberries, backed by subtle power and gentle structure. Full-bodied, creamy and luch yet bright, intense and long on the finish, it’s a terrific effort. Rating: 94-96 - Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate, August, 2019.

Year after year this is my favourite Châteauneuf du Pape from Domaine Roger Sabon. Available only in 12-bottle cases at the moment.

Domaine Roger Sabon
We had 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.

Delphine, Didier and Hélène at the Domaine
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 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 a great vintage or lovely Côtes du Rhône, we would really appreciate it if you would pass this note on to them.

Many thanks and cheers!

Jim, Hélène and Kate  

PS: Follow My Vinous Adventures on Gentleman’s Portion

I have contributed fifty-three posts about our experiences in the wild, wacky and wonderful world of wine to a delightful lifestyle blog called Gentleman’s Portion. The latest is titled THE FARAUD SISTERS AND THEIR GORGEOUS GIGONDAS. 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.