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2020 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Piedlong”

Famille Brunier
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Historically, the Bruniers’ La Crau bottling has been their flagship wine, their grand cru of sorts. In 2011 they decided to isolate the fruit from a promising vineyard with galet-littered soil from a separate plateau known as Piedlong, which lies at the summit of the appellation. This bottling might be—in essence—their other grand cru. Piedlong is a vineyard inherited from Daniel and Frédéric Brunier’s grandmother over thirty-five years ago, but the fruit was always blended into other wines. For various reasons, some unexplainable, fruit from Piedlong ripens about two weeks later than on La Crau, which gives it an immediate advantage, as a slow ripening process allows grapes to gain in complexity. The resulting cuvée—made from 90% Grenache—is therefore a kind of tribute to the grape and its ability to express terroir with purity. While visiting the domaine recently, we tasted one of the first vintages, a 2012 that was refined and elegant, and a beautiful pairing with spit-roasted lamb. I got the sense that Daniel is truly proud of what his family is building with this cuvée, as if somehow the wine will be the future of the domaine and, in many ways, the legacy of his generation. Not surprisingly, the 2020 vintage drinks like something even more ethereal than you’d expect from a southern red: it’s mineral and structured but with delicate aromas of rose petal, currants, and réglisse. Piedlong is a new classic. 

Jane Augustine

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Technical Information
Wine Type: red
Vintage: 2020
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: 90% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre
Appellation: Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Country: France
Region: Southern Rhône
Producer: Famille Brunier
Winemaker: Frédéric & Daniel Brunier
Vineyard: Grenache = 70 years old, Mourvèdre = 50 years old, 13 ha
Soil: Sand on red clay and galets roulés
Aging: Wine is aged in concrete tanks for 1 year, then aged a second year in 50 hl foudre, bottled unfined and unfiltered, aged in bottle for 3 months
Farming: Lutte Raisonnée
Alcohol: 14.5%

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Vintage Chart

Trust the great winemakers, trust the great vineyards. Your wine merchant might even be trustworthy. In the long run, that vintage strip may be the least important guide to quality on your bottle of wine.—Kermit Lynch

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