Domaine de Fontavin Cuvee Empire Chateauneuf du Pape 2018

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Featured in the "500" wineclub July 2022

I remember my first Châteauneuf du Pape. It was the first wine I had splurged on by my standards at the time. My love for wine was still in its infancy, and I was resolute in the idea that I would KNOW what an out-of-this-world wine tasted like. I don’t remember why it had to be a CDP, but I was extremely excited to bring home a red with such a fantastic reputation. Besides, the bottle looked like it could have been on the set of Pirates of the Caribbean and being a theatre kid, I thoroughly enjoyed the theme. I decanted the sucker and shared a few glasses with some friends who “didn’t understand the fuss,” and while not in a place at the time to convince them that it was truly delicious, I was hooked. As the very first French wine appellation, Chateauneuf du Pape’s bold and expressive wines have been held to the highest standards globally, and 7th generation winemaker, Helene Chouvet of Domaine De Fontavin, takes that seriously. Coming from the 9-hectare vineyard of 100% organically farmed vines, this Grenache/Syrah blend has been aged for 18 months in various oak barrels and has a wonderfully spicy and dark-fruited characteristic that is typical of the style; however, a playful vibrancy that you find in a classic coca-cola is the key to this wine.