"- Feb 2004 - One of the appellation’s classic, old style offerings, the Michel family continues to produce an uncompromisingly long-lived, remarkably consistent Chateauneuf du Pape. The dark plum/purple-colored 2001 boasts a huge, Provencal-styled bouquet of ground pepper, lavender, roasted herbes de Provence, beef blood, and cranberry as well as black cherry liqueur. This perfumed effort exhibits sweet, broad, full-bodied flavors, moderately high tannin, and admirable density and chewiness. There are also hints of underbrush, new saddle leather, incense, and black fruits. This striking 2001 needs 1-3 years of cellaring. It will drink well for 12-15 years.
- Feb 2003 - The 2001 Chateauneuf du Pape appears to be tremendous, certainly one of the great Vieux Donjons produced. Its dense, murky black/purple color is followed by a gorgeous nose of creosote, licorice, black cherries, blackberries, pepper, incense, smoked herbs, and roasted meat. With exquisite concentration, copious tannin, and considerable delineation as well as structure, this massive, backward, promising Chateauneuf will require patience. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2018.
One of the classic Chateauneuf du Papes of the appellation, the proprietor (the Michel family) makes an uncompromising, long-lived wine that is remarkably consistent from vintage to vintage. My buying history with this estate goes back two decades, and I have enjoyed virtually every vintage I have purchased. At present, I'm working my way through the last of my 1985s and 1990s, and then I'll attack the 1995s, and in a few years, the extraordinary 1998s.
Given the realistic pricing of Vieux Donjon, this wine should be purchased by the case.