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Senior editor James Molesworth joined Wine Spectator in 1997. He reviews Bordeaux, the Loire, the Rhône, South Africa and New York's Finger Lakes.
James Molesworth

A Rhône Red That Blends Old and New

Tardieu-Laurent Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Spéciale 2007

James Molesworth
Posted: April 21, 2010

I love when modernity meets tradition in wine, resulting in a balance of styles and added complexity. Tardieu-Laurent’s Cuvée Spécial might be a little young to drink now, but it’s hard to resist thanks to the open, accessible style of the 2007 vintage in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

The wine is made entirely from old-vine Grenache (the vines range from 80 to 100 years old) in the famed La Crau sector of the appellation. Michel Tardieu and consulting enologist Philippe Cambie do not destem the fruit in homage to traditional winemaking. But they also aim for an emphasis on rich, velvety fruit.

Consequently, the wine shows gorgeous, silky, perfumy raspberry and shiso leaf notes along with lavender, iron and gravel hints. The polished, toasty edge of modernity weaves perfectly with the traditional hint of underlying stemmy grip, resulting in a great mouthfeel and a long, long finish. 95 points for me, non-blind, and I found it at a wine shop for $60, significantly lower than the suggested retail price.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Tardieu-Laurent Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Spéciale 2007 (95, $83).

• Plus, get our quick list of Top Values among Rhône reds.

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