This is an old note--from March 30, 2004. I am posting it to demonstrate the quality of Domaine de la Janasse's best cuvee, this Vieilles Vignes Chateauneuf du Pape.
"Medium deep crimson with brickish, garnet tones. Mature Grenache./ My first impression on smelling the wine is that it's very Grenache--strawberries and sea salt. With each sniff, the depth becomes more apparent with layers of dried and fresh fruits highlighted by hints of herbs and flowers. Very deep and haunting./ Big and old-fashioned in the mouth. Ripe at the front with a full rich follow through. The label says 14.5% alcohol but there is no heat or jamminess. Long exotic finish."
At that time, I thought the wine was in middle age with a fairly long life ahead of it. It was definitely an old fashioned type of Chateauneuf of the type I love most, along the lines of the 1988 and 1989 Lucien Barrot, the 1989 Chante Perdrix and the 1988 Clos Mont Olivet. More recent vintages, I understand, have at least part of the cuvee exposed to new oak in small barrels. (For 2006, according to the web site: 25% raised in barrels, of which 40% were new; 75% aged in vats. 80% de-stemmed with 28-day maceration.) I haven't tasted recent vintages but would love to hear from anyone who has.