2014Gradassi2014 Domaine Jerome Gradassi, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone Red, France.
The 2014 Jerome Gradassi Chateauneuf is one of the most exciting examples of this historic region I’ve tried in years, and is an amazing value in tiny production handcrafted old vine Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Gradassi is much more famous for his Michelin-starred L’Isle Sonnante restaurant located in Avignon, but after taking over a parcel of ancient Grenache that was once his grandfathers he taught himself how to make wine, very much influenced by hard work and tradition, and through trial an error, Jerome has led himself down the natural winemaking path in his very rustic cellar. The 2014 Domaine Jerome Gradassi Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rouge was fermented 100% whole-cluster, in underground cement vats with native yeasts and almost no sulfur, everything is done by hand, in fact it is rumored he uses a bucket and rope to move the fermented juice to cask! The Chateauneuf is a cuvee of 75% Grenache and 25% Mourvedre, with the stems, as well as 4 week maceration and hand punch downs makes for a rustic and spicy wine, but good ripe berries and 10 months in very old barrel/cask help smooth the tannins and it is remarkably fresh and vibrant. The nose is all earth, cracked pepper and wild lavender with hints of kirsch, raspberry and anise leading to a medium full bodied palate of much the same along with boysenberry, plum and pomegranate fruits, sweet tobacco leaf, a hint of black olive, game, grilled herbs and a lingering note of framboise. This wine has a real thrill about it and I love it’s intensity, spice and rawness, it can be approached now, especially with robust cuisine and or cheeses, but should really age well offering intriguing rewards for those with patience, drink from 2018 to 2026, this is impressive and a very dry Chateauneuf expression, imported by Martine’s Wines.
($45 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

By admin