Fresh, floral-accented aromas of red berry preserves and anise, with a spicy quality gaining strength with air. Juicy, sharply focused raspberry and bitter cherry flavors show very good clarity and pick up an herbal nuance on the back half. Closes bright and sappy, with resonating spice and floral qualities.
Clos du Mont Olivet is a 60-acre estate in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, in France’s Rhone Valley. Though wine has been made on the estate for centuries, the estate’s modern history started in 1932 when Seraphin Sabon married the daughter of a local landowner and the couple started Clos Mont Olivet. Today the estate is run by the third and fourth generations of the Sabon family. The estate’s vineyards include parcels in Cotes-du-Rhone as well as Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and it makes red and white wines. Robert M. Parker Jr. has called Clos du Mont Olivet “one of the very best Chateauneuf-du-Papes….a splendidly rich, old-style Chateauneu-du-Pape from ancient vines…”
The Southern Rhône Valley wine region extends from Orange in the north through the communes Lirac and Tavel in the southwest. The French call the region Côtes du Rhône Méridionales and it includes some of the best known appellations in France, such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas. The climate and landscape of the Southern Rhone differ significantly from the Northern Rhone. There are hot, often windy Mediterranean appellations near Nimes and the south, and higher altitude, relatively cool appellations such as Côtes du Ventoux to the east. Understanding the region can be confusing given that there are thirteen appellations and sixteen red and white grapes allowed for wines with appellation status. Syrah is grown here, but it is much less important than in the north. Grenache is the prominent red grape, though most red wines are blends of at least four varietals. Other commonly used red grapes are Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Muscardin. Counoise, Terret Noir, Vaccarèse and Syrah are also permitted. The primary white grapes are Grenache Blanc, Clairette and Bourboulenc, though Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne are permitted, as are Picpoul and Picardin. Of note is the Côtes du Rhone Villages AOC, which is only in the Southern Rhone. Though Côtes du Rhône AOC wine is made in both the north and south, the Villages appellation has stricter requirements for winemaking and is generally considered higher quality than simple Côtes du Rhône. Robert M. Parker Jr. has written that “There is a vast amount of enjoyment to be discovered in the southern Rhône…for these are some of the most sumptuous and pleasure-giving wines produced in the world.”