Domaine Grand Veneur, Châteauneuf du Pape Rouge ‘Les Origines’ Magnum 2012

£86.00 (150cl)

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The red grapes undergo a cold maceration before being fermented with wild yeasts at 28-32oC, with the objective of enriching the must with the right amount of aroma, colour and tannin. The vinification process lasts 18 to 20 days with regular pigeage. The wines are then matured in a combination of vats and oak casks for at least 18 months, with a final assemblage taking place in January.

About the producer

Mathieu Jaume founded the domaine in 1826. Christophe and Sébastien Jaume have now taken over from their father Alain and have carefully expanded the domaine. Located in the commune of Orange and comprising 75 hectares of vines, it covers four different appellations: Châteauneuf du Pape, Côtes du Rhône Villages, Côtes du Rhône and Lirac.
As of 2012, the estate has been certified organic. The vineyards are planted with a mixture of Grenache Noir, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Clairette, with some of the vines approaching 90 years of age. The terroir here is classic Châteauneuf, with a sub soil of marine sandstone covered by Alpine deluvium or galets roulés. The soils are cultivated by light ploughing and sustained by natural compost. Yields are low, or kept under control by green harvesting during the summer, which allows the Jaumes to be selective not only in terms of quantity, but also quality, by favouring those clusters which are best exposed.

Harvesting is carried out manually, whilst a triage in the vineyard earmarks the best grapes before they are transported to the winery, where the grapes are destemmed, lightly crushed and clarified by natural sedimentation. For the white grapes, the fermentation using wild yeasts is controlled at 18oC, in order to preserve the fresh aromatics.
The red grapes undergo a cold maceration before being fermented with wild yeasts at 28-32oC, with the objective of enriching the must with the right amount of aroma, colour and tannin. The vinification process lasts 18 to 20 days with regular pigeage. The wines are then matured in a combination of vats and oak casks for at least 18 months, with a final assemblage taking place in January.

The range is exceptional and equally superb in white as in red. ‘La Fontaine’ is consistently one of the best white Châteauneuf and ‘Les Origines’ delivers the appropriate class for a premium cuvée with many international accolades, spending 18 months in new oak. There is no weak wine here and the well-priced Côtes du Rhône is produced from a vineyard situated only metres away from the famous Château Beaucastel.

Jancis Robinson (Purple Pages

Sweet coconut oak. Rich and just slightly tarted up. Lots of assertion and grip. Dry finish. Points: 16.5. Date Tasted: 12/11/2013

Robert Parker Wine Advocate (

The 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Origines (45% Grenache, 35% Syrah and 20% Mourvedre) is a polished, medium to full-bodied effort that has superb concentration, lots of tannin, and a ripe, textured feel. Showing plenty of black raspberry, toasted spice, creamy licorice and hints of violets, it’s a classic example of this cuvée that will benefit from a year or two in the cellar, and have no problem evolving gracefully through 2027. (Jeb Dunnuck) Points: 93. Issue Date: 31/10/2014

Regions Vintage Report:

A few words on 2013 first This year was very different compared to previous visits as I happened to arrive on the very last days of the 2013 harvest. One of the latest of the last 25 years, 2013 had been challenging even for the more seasoned producers. The harvest lasted nearly one full month and even if it’s a bit early to be sure, the result so far seems nothing short of a miracle. The late ripening varieties have just made it past the post and the initial feel is of good fruit, freshness and less alcohol; but the real problem is the quantity or rather the lack of it. The lucky ones have only a 10% reduction on already low 2012 yields, but some producers (mainly those with a lot of Grenache vineyards) have suffered losses of up to 50%. For these unlucky ones, the 2013 vintage will surely be atypical with blends composed of much more Mourvèdre and Syrah than usual. However overall the Rhône has managed to avoid the worst of the difficult conditions and 2013 will surely be considered a good vintage, but quite unique compared to recent history. 2012 The South After the often wrongly criticised 2011 vintage, a lot was expected of 2012 and my visit confirmed my previous positive impressions. After a very cold winter, which saw many old Grenache vines die, the spring was also cold and quite wet generating some “Coulure” on the Grenache. The summer was warm and dry with a very hot peak in August; the autumn brought some light showers that helped to ensure optimal ripeness. Many 2012s are blessed with a beautiful fruit character and freshness, with lower alcohol levels and fine tannins. Not as powerful as 2010, yet most wines have a similar balance and lower tannins so they should be more approachable in their youth (many 2010s are now closed and will need time to open again). The 2012s are a little like 2004 and 2006 with a touch of 2010. The first two vintages were a little less acclaimed in their time but proved to deliver fantastic bottles; the whites are possibly even more impressive and the ever improving winemaking is definitely showing; the Rhône should finally be considered as a great white producing region and that not only from the northern part. Another good sign of quality is that many producers have made their cuvée “prestige”, which are very successful, helped by a less “pumped up” vintage. There are still a few wines with alcohol levels just above 15% but nowhere near or above 16% like many were in 2009/2010 and 2011. I could recommend most of the wines, but if pushed I would pick the Lirac from Domaine de Marcoux, now fully in the Armenier sisters’ control. Sweet and silky with gorgeous fruit and just enough structure to keep for 6 to 8 years, although it will be difficult not to enjoy earlier! Also showing very well is the Gigondas from Domaine Santa Duc. Yves Gras has added some finesse to his wines, mainly by shortening the cuvaisons; he is also using larger oak vats rather than barriques and the wines seem to be a little less rustic in their youth than during last decade. I also must mention Châteauneuf-du-Pape Les Origines from Domaine Grand Veneur, although this is not new as it has been one of my favourites for many years and still delivers fantastic value. If it’s an everyday wine you are looking for, don’t go further than Denis Alary’s Cairanne. Prices have hardly moved for the past few years, despite 3 consecutive years of low production. The estate is now fully organic and although he easily sells all of his wines, Denis is still trying to improve the quality every year. The wines have now brighter fruit and more energy; they are definitely more modern whilst still respecting their origin. Finally a special mention to Le Clos du Caillou for producing so many cuvées and delivering across the entire range. The reds always have a lot of warmth and can be very soft, but 2012 is particularly successful with a slightly reduced level of alcohol and good freshness. The whites are also definitely on a par with the highly rated reds. The North Like the South, the wines have a great harmony and balance. As in 2011 there are not many blockbusters, but I consider that as a blessing as Northern Rhône Syrah needs to retain its freshness and elegance. The Côte Rôties have plenty of the trademark violet aromas and black olives flavours and will be very attractive even at an early stage. The trend of balance and elegance carries on further south through St Joseph, Cornas and Hermitage. Elegance doesn’t mean weakness as 2012 has plenty enough ripeness and although the tannins are lighter than in vintages like 2009 and 2010, they are very precise and powerful enough to underline each Terroir. Our old favourites Pierre Gaillard and François Villard continue their work towards wines with less intervention and a gentler use of the oak. Judging the vinification and oaking was particularly important in 2012 to achieve the perfect balance. Maxime Graillot and Thomas Schmittel at Equis/Domaine des Lises have raised the profile of their wines by using a large oak vat for some of their vinifications. Very little new oak there, but the usual precise and bright fruit is now helped by an extra dimension brought by the more elaborate vinification. The 2012 whites happily follow two very successful vintages; beautifully rich but not overripe, Viognier is showing plenty of lovely white and yellow fruit characters but also some tension. The Roussanne and Marsanne have extra notes of salinity and mineral tones adding complexity. I was particularly impressed by François Villard St Peray, an appellation that I found difficult to like in the past. Christian Honorez November 2013 ©adVINture 2020

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