Nobody is more excited about 2016 Châteauneuf reds than Daniel Brunier. For this seasoned vigneron, it undoubtedly ranks among the best vintages of his lifetime, reminiscent of the great 1978 for its majestically balanced structure, palate-saturating flavor, and presumably for its capacity to age gracefully through the decades. Crafted from old Grenache on the stony plateau of Piedlong along with a dollop of Mourvèdre from the sandy Pignan vineyard, this cuvée offers immediacy without sacrificing the potential for a long evolution in bottle. With its sturdy tannic backbone tenderly enveloped in sweet, perfumed fruit, the 2016 Piedlong is confirmation of Daniel’s enthusiastic assessment of the vintage.
The gnarled old gobelet-trained Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc, and Roussanne of La Crau successfully coped with the hot, dry conditions that came to define the 2017 vintage, yielding a concentrated white with all of its typical characteristics intensified as if under a magnifying glass. The trademark mineral nerve conferred by the stones appears in spades, providing drive and precision. Fruit is ample, yet restrained, accented by whiffs of anise and a deft kiss of oak. In other words, we have yet another classic from the Bruniers. Stock up now, because the one downside of this fine vintage is its woeful yields.
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