This extraordinarily rare gem from super enologist Xavier Vignon — "easily one of the best winemakers in the Southern Rhône" says Robert Parker — is a ground-breaking effort destined to become an instant cult classic.
A near-impossible find from the author of over a dozen 100-point wines, the 2010 Xavier Vignon Châteauneuf-du-Pape Arcane V Le Pape garnered one of the most ecstatic 96+ point reviews in the 39-year history of Wine Advocate: "Inky purple in color, with a sensational, youthful bouquet of crushed flowers, blueberries, blackberries, cured meats and spice, it hits the palate with incredible richness, a thick, unctuous mid-palate and ripe, yet present tannin. It's a singular, exotic beauty that I wish every reader could taste!" This wildly complex Grenache is the product of a unique aging process that is, to the best of our knowledge, unprecedented.
The project began with Xavier's desire to make the greatest Grenache of his career. After assembling a blend of his most exquisite Grenaches from 15 parcels, his concern was how to preserve the wine from oxygen and at the same time soften its massive structure and tannic edge. While conducting research on mineral salts, he tasted a Bordeaux which had been aged at the bottom of the ocean. The notion intrigued Xavier, yet he felt the saline bath was influencing the flavor. Then he got an even wilder idea — what if he aged the wine in more wine?
Xavier poured his hand-selected Grenache into a barrels constructed solely for this novel technique, then plunged the barrels into a cement tank filled with Châteauneuf-du-Pape. There, this Grenache was kept suspended for five years. No exposure to oxygen, no racking, no topping — untouched and perfectly preserved in dense purple silence. The result? A fantastically rich, hypnotic jaw-dropper that Wine Advocate suspects will keep for two to three decades, and that Rhône collectors will be obsessing over for decades to come.
What does it taste like ...
Brilliant purple to the edge, infused with mouthwatering aromas of crushed blackberry, black cherry, kirsch, violets and anise. The attack is massive — a plush, silken mix of red-and black-fruit preserves, blackcurrant, sweet spice-box, and savory meats. Tremendously concentrated, silken in texture, like all of Vignon's brilliant releases, the finish goes on and on and on