Clos Saint-Jean is a 41-hectare estate in Châteauneuf-du-Pape run by brothers Vincent and Pascal Maurel. Considered by many critics and wine-writers as the preeminent estate espousing the modern style of winemaking in Châteauneuf, this cellar is one of the oldest in the region, having been founded in 1900 by the greatgreat-grandfather of Vincent and Pascal, Edmund Tacussel. A short time after its founding and well before the AOP of Chateauneuf-du-Pape was created in 1923, Edmund began bottling estate wines in 1910.
The farming at Clos Saint-Jean is fully sustainable due to the warm and dry climate, which prevents the need for chemical inputs. Instead, Vincent and Pascal employ organic methods for pest control, mainly pheromones, to prevent pests from taking up residence in their vines, a process called amusingly enough in French, confusion sexuelle. The vines tended manually, and harvest is conducted in several passes entirely by hand.
Combe des Fous literally means, the hill of the fool. The hill, in this case, is located in the far southern reach of Le Crau which was left barren for many centuries because the layer of galets was so exceedingly deep that everyone assumed vines could never survive there. The fool in this situation is Edmund Tacussel, the great-great-grandfather of Vincent and Pascal Maruel who planted a Grenache vineyard on this site in 1905. That old-vine Grenache form the heart of this cuvée with a small amount of Syrah, Cinsault and Vaccarèse. La Combe des Fous is only made in the best vintages.
Starting off a trio of truly magical wines, the 2019 Châteauneuf Du Pape La Combe Des Fous checks in as 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and the rest Vaccarèse and Cinsault raised in tank and demi-muids. Sensationally pure cassis and blackberry fruits as well as complex notes of lavender, Provençal garrigue, ground pepper, and flowers all define this full-bodied 2019, which displays the vintage’s ripe, perfumed style while bringing more finesse, elegant, and purity than just about every other wine out there. It’s the finest vintage of this cuvée I’ve tasted and has another 15-20 years of prime drinking ahead of it
-Jeb Dunnuck 100 Points