“This impeccably run estate, in the capable hands of Christophe Sabon, his sister Isabelle, and their father, is one of the superstars of the southern Rhone Valley. Over the last 12-15 years, the quality of the wines has gone from strength to strength, with brilliant wines being produced in all price categories. They make sumptuous, complex, world-class red, white and rose Cotes du Rhones, and year in and year-out, their Chateauneuf du Papes are among the top three or four wines of the vintage. Tasting two great vintages (2009 and 2010) from the Sabons was one of the most thrilling tastings I have had this year. My tasting began with some unbelievable Cotes du Rhones” Robert Parker, Wine Advocate #197
Domaine de la Janasse has quickly become one of the Superstar estates of Chateauneuf-du Pape. Led by the dynamic Christophe Sabon, the estate combines the best of both traditional and modern techniques to craft a collection of truly riveting wines from “simple” value-priced VDP’s to benchmark Châteauneufs.
The estate was founded in 1976 by Aimé Sabon, Christophe’s father, who still oversees the vineyards and farms organically. The property consists of 15 hectares in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, spread over many different parcels. The soil types vary from clay and round pebbles in La Crau, to sand and clay soil in the northeastern plots where most of the vines are located Lieu-dits such as La Janasse, Chapouin, and Barnouine, all of which are close to Beaucastel). The domaine is named after the eponymous lieu-dit “La Janasse” in the extreme north of the appellation, east of Beaucastel.
While Aime works in the vineyards, his son, Christophe Sabon, is in charge of wine production. Christophe, who studied winemaking and oenology in Beaune, is a self-proclaimed “great defender of Grenache,” which still represents 75% of their vines. He manages the common rusticity of Grenache-based wines through meticulous work in the vineyards and cellar. The result is a wide range of Châteauneuf du-Papes and Cotes-du-Rhônes that are complex and yet balanced with acidity - often in contradiction to an appellation better known for sheer exuberance and power. As Robert Parker points out: “The young and talented Christophe Sabon continues to display the surehanded touch of a veteran winemaker”.
I have long been a fan of the Janasse wines which combine tradition with modern skills, utilizing the best features of both. So I was certainly very pleased to be offered the wines, including a small allocation of the highly regarded and rare Vieilles Vignes. The wines have received superb reviews from everyone.
The 2010 wines have received exceptional scores across the board. Be quick - they will not last.