Bottle Notes, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Pick My Next Bottle – 2001 Châteauneuf-du-Pape

The July Installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on 2001 Châteauneuf-du-Pape. As I mentioned in the first installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. Voting will close this Saturday and the winning bottle will be opened this Sunday. A Bottle Note will be published shortly thereafter.

The last in a run of four good vintages in the Rhône, 2001 in Châteauneuf-du-Pape produced some great wines with balance and length. The key features of the year were low yields, a hot, dry summer and ideal harvest conditions. 2001 compares favorably with the top vintages of the last 15 years including 1998 and 2005.

The Contenders:

    • 2001 Vieux Telegraphe – The 2001 Chateauneuf du Pape La Crau is gorgeous, structured, impressive. Full-bodied and backward, with great depth, purity, and heady aromatics, this 20,000-case blend of 60% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah, and 15% miscellaneous amounts of the other permitted varietals will easily rival the 1998. A deep ruby/purple-tinged color is accompanied by a sweet perfume of salty sea breezes, seaweed, melted licorice, kirsch liqueur, creme de cassis, and iodine … a classic Vieux-Telegraphe aromatic display. Powerful as well as firmly structured, this is a wine to lay away for 4-5 years. It should prove to be uncommonly long-lived, lasting a minimum of two decades. It gets my nod as the greatest Vieux-Telegraphe since the 1998. 93 points from the Wine Advocate.
    • 2001 Vieux Donjon – One of the appellation’s classic, old style offerings, the Michel family continues to produce an uncompromisingly long-lived, remarkably consistent Chateauneuf du Pape. The dark plum/purple-colored 2001 boasts a huge, Provencal-styled bouquet of ground pepper, lavender, roasted herbes de Provence, beef blood, and cranberry as well as black cherry liqueur. This perfumed effort exhibits sweet, broad, full-bodied flavors, moderately high tannin, and admirable density and chewiness. There are also hints of underbrush, new saddle leather, incense, and black fruits. This striking 2001 needs 1-3 years of cellaring. It will drink well for 12-15 years. 93 points from the Wine Advocate.
    • 2001 Domaine du Pegau Cuvée Réservée – The 2001 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Reservee is a prodigious effort. The dark plum/ruby/garnet color is followed by a spectacular smorgasbord of aromas, including roasted meats, lavender, ground pepper, and thick, sweet blackberry and brandy-macerated cherries. Full-bodied, dense, and chewy, it has high levels of tannin, a huge finish, and a monster upside. Although less voluptuous than the 2000, the 2001 looks to be potentially the longest-lived and finest Cuvee Reservee since the wonderful duo of 1989 and 1990, both of which are aging splendidly. Anticipated maturity: 2006-2020. 95 points fom the Wine Advocate.

Which 2001 Châteauneuf-du-Pape should I open?

  • 2001 Domaine du Pegau Cuvée Réservée (43%, 16 Votes)
  • 2001 Vieux Telegraphe (30%, 11 Votes)
  • 2001 Vieux Donjon (27%, 10 Votes)

Total Voters: 37

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another. Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the August installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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8 thoughts on “Pick My Next Bottle – 2001 Châteauneuf-du-Pape

  1. While it would be difficult to pick a wrong bottle of 2001 CDP, I am a big fan of Vieux Télégraphe overall. The dominance of Grenache, old vines, & the Télégraphe terroir fits my palate perfect.
    In fact I have several in my collection waiting for the time they will be ready to enjoy!

  2. Beautiful line-up, Tom! I don’t know too much about these three wines, although I think I know a little bit. In my view, Vieux Donjon is usually the earliest drinking of the three selections and Domaine du Pegau Cuvée Réservée probably needs the most time in bottle. 01 was such a terrific year for Chateauneuf-du-Pape that all three wines are probably drinking beautifully right now. For my money though, I’d go with Vieux Donjon given the 12-15 year drinking window you mention above. Cheers!

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