Is the 2007 vintage in Chateauneuf du Pape the greatest the region has ever seen? Robert Parker certainly believes so. His report, released earlier this month, provided us with a surfeit of superlatives and nine 100-point scores. Parker declares it the “most compelling vintage of any viticultural region I have ever tasted”, and describes the wines as “profoundly concentrated, vividly aromatic, and remarkably fresh, yet substantial, full-bodied, and flawless”.
Jancis Robinson, who reported on the wines earlier in the year, was also extremely positive, although she steers clear of the hyperbole that engulfs Parker’s report. For her, the southern Rhone is “perhaps the most blessed wine region of all”, in a year when others struggled (most notably the Borderlais). “I was certainly very agreeably surprised by how relatively easy the southern Rhône 2007s were to taste,’ she reports, “the overall quality level was just so high that my scores and tasting notes seemed almost superfluous."
James Molesworth of the Wine Spectator also published his scores on the region in November and again was very enthusiastic, although markedly less so than Parker.
He describes it as a “clearly impressive” vintage with many fantastic wines, although some producers have gone “over-the-top”. Overall, he feels the 2007 vintage is “just shy” of 2005.
Below we list the top wines from all three critics. It’s clear there is some divergence over which wines performed best. Clos Papes is the only wine to appear in all three lists – although Molesworth was unable to taste Beaucastel, Hommage J Perrin, which is given top marks by the other two critics. Robinson, in particular seems to have headed in her own direction, awarding unspectacular scores to a number of wines top-rated by the other two: St Prefert CNDP Giraud (17.5), Janasse CNDP Vv (17.5), Barroche CNDP Pure (17) and the Clos St Jean triumvirate (15, 17.5+ and 15.5).
Those interested in a full analysis of the price trends for Rhone fine wines should view the November Liv-ex Market Report (subscription required).