An epiphany. In the religious sense. This is a Chateauneuf wine that flogs you like the many faithful around the world flog themselves ritualistically during Holy Week to get closer to God. This is the Vieilles Vignes (“Old Vines”) designated 2010 CLOS SAINT JEAN Chateauneuf-du-Pape, which comes in at 16% alcohol content. Burning hot with intensity and thick and viscous as blood, the religious fervor in these grapes is palpable. So powerful and concentrated in blackberry, kirsch syrup, espresso, fig flavors and then black pepper on the finish, with aromas of forest floor, herbs and wood. There is pleasure and pain—the wine raises up the body heat and has the ability to disorient the consciousness, but it’s sending you to a higher plane. It’s a spiritual ecstasy. –J.M.
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