Six years ago, I visited one of my favorite wine producers, Domaine Roger Sabon, in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, on a visit to the southern Rhone.
The consulting winemaker to this property, Alain Benquet, is a good, longtime friend and he secured a tasting appointment for me with the owner, Jean Jacques Sabon.
Backgrounder about this wine
Robert Parker has scored the 2001 vintage of Roger Sabon’s top cuvee, called Le Secret des Sabon, a perfect 100 points on every occasion he has tasted it.
I have been fortunate to experience this wine on several occasions.
In 2004, at a business dinner, I ordered this wine at the French Laundry, in Yountville, and rated it 100 points. It was a perfect wine.
In 2006, I had it again, this time with Jean Jacques and Alain at the winery and rated it 100 again.
And now, six years later, last night, I opened my only cellared bottle (which I purchased at the winery) and it is just as impressive, easily a 100-point wine. Maybe more.
The wine exhibits a core of very ripe black fruit, predominantly black cherry and backberries. There is a backfill of grilled steak flavors and a faint echo of white birch sap. (Trust me - it's there.)
There is more than wine in this bottle; upon pouring, one senses an essence, a spirit, of wine, which is more than just juice.
Thrilling, complex, complete, this is, without question, our best wine of the year so far.