2015 CR “Soul” Monastrell
Chateauneuf du Pape is a blend of up to 13 different grape varieties. One of those varieties, Mourvedre, is relatively unknown but provides the indomitable, masculine presence that allows Chateauneufs to live for years, reaching dark, powerful depths that were unimaginable in their fruity youths.
In France, these varieties are so prized that many producers create “Super Cuvees” of CdP that cost hundreds of dollars and fetch perfect 100-point scores from the critics (think of Beaucastel’s Hommage Jacques Perrin that are 100% Mourvedre and you have it).
But if you take a journey down the Mediterranan crescent, leaving Chateauneuf and sailing on past Barcelona, eventually you reach Jumilla, home to some of the oldest Mourvedre vines in the world.
The French would quickly point out that Jumilla is not Chateauneuf du Pape. Yet it stands to reason that a vineyard planted to the same grapes, with a similar climate and soil, can produce as good a wine as its neighbor. In fact, I submit to you that the French may be engaged in a bit of price-protectionism. Not only can Jumilla Mourvedre be as compelling as Chateauneuf du Pape, it is far less expensive.
This CR “Soul” is 100% Monastrell, the Spanish name for Mourvedre, is a shining example, echoing some of the top cuvees in Chateauneuf. Opening with aromas of crème de cassis, kirsch, and blackberries, it seamlessly melds into an incredibly layered palate of blueberries, wet stones and spice box. Like all powerful CdPs it is muscular, having enough brawn to support its powerful fruit character. A six years old this powerful beauty is at the perfect point of muscular, fruit driven maximum expression. That being said, it will hold for at least five more years in your cellar.
No, CR “Soul” is not a Super Cuvee of Chateauneuf du Pape – it’s lacking a $500 price tag. But if you don’t mind paying less, it’s a delicious wine!