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.
Pumps out heady raspberry, mulberry and blackberry compote notes that keep form and direction, thanks to a roasted apple wood spine and flanking ganache, garrigue and warm earth notes. Seriously grippy finish. Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Vaccarèse.
-Wine Spectator 96 Points
The 2020 Châteauneuf Du Pape La Combe Des Fous is a normal blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and the rest Vaccarèse and Cinsault. Beautiful, full-bodied aromas and flavors of ripe black raspberries, violets, ground pepper, lavender, and herbes de Provence all emerge from this gorgeous barrel sample, and it shows the pure, fresh, yet still concentrated style of the vintage brilliantly.
-Jeb Dunnuck 94-97 Points